Snow Removal

How We Plow

Winter in Missoula can be long and unpredictable. During the heart of the winter season, Street Division crews plow snow and apply deicer and sand around the clock to keep streets as safe as possible.

Crews begin plowing snow once 2 inches of snow accumulates on the streets.

The Street Division’s Snow Removal Priority Plan outlines the order in which our crews plow the streets. The priorities are determined according to safety considerations, public transit reliability, and community accessibility.

  1. Priority 1 Routes
    • Priority 1 streets include arterial streets, school bus routes, and transit bus routes.
    • They are plowed first and are shown in red on the Snow Removal Routes Map.
    • Driving lanes and bike lanes are plowed first.
    • The goal is to have all Priority 1 streets plowed and deiced within 48 hours after it stops snowing.
    • Our ability to achieve this goal depends on how much snow we get and how long a snow storm lasts.
  2. Priority 2 Routes
    • Priority 2 streets are collector streets, fire routes, Neighborhood Greenways, and local streets with 8% or steeper grades. 
    • They will be plowed once Priority 1s are completed.
    • Our goal is to have a Priority 2s cleared and deiced with 96 hours after the snow stops.
  3. Local Streets
    • Local streets will receive immediate snow removal service once 2+ inches of snow accumulates. 
    • We have five pickups with mounted plows that are assigned to specific areas for snow removal.
    • Crews vary where they start in each residential area so that each side of an area gets to be cleared first. So, for one snow event a street may be cleared first, but during the next snow storm, that street may be last.
    • Crews plow between 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
    • Weekend plowing may be done in response to severe events resulting in an accumulation of 6 inches or more of snow within 24 hours.
    • City crews will not remove snow berms deposited in front of driveways, mailboxes or around cars parked on streets unless the berms are substantially higher than adjacent berms.
    • The larger plows will assist in clearing local streets once all Priority 1s and 2s are done.
    • The goal is to have all local streets cleared and deiced within seven days after it quits snowing.
  4. Additional Cleanup Work
    • After driving lanes, bike lanes, and middle turning lanes have been cleared on all three routes, units may return to do additional cleanup work.

Did You Know?

  • The Street Division plows bike lanes:
  • Washing your car every couple weeks during the winter, when temperatures allow, is a good practice to remove road grime.
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8