Plowing Sidewalks Snow Emergencies Free sand/salt
Report a problem
To report problems with snow/ice on a street, please use the A2 Fix It app, the A2 Fix It page or call 734.794.6320, Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
To report a problem sidewalk use the A2 Fix It app, the A2 Fix It page or call Community Standards at 734.794.6942 Monday through Friday, 7 a.m.–3:30 p.m.
Street snow/ice treatment and plowing
The City of Ann Arbor's winter road maintenance objective is to provide surfaces that are safe to use at reasonable speeds. Public Works is mindful of the environmental impact of over-application of salt and therefore does not treat to bare pavement.
- Trunk line: defined by state and federal law; takes priority for snow control/removal; serves vital role in transportation and connect to highways.
- Major road: critical for travel within the city limits. May or may not connect to highways.
- Residential/local street: most homes, apartments and businesses reside along residential/local streets.
- City plows/treats 100 miles of major roads and 200 miles of residential streets.
- Trunk lines, major roads and the next day’s solid waste routes are plowed first.
- Goal is to treat/plow all streets within 24 hours of an “average” 4-inch snowstorm.
- Salt is applied for ice control on major roads. Sand is used, as needed, for traction on residential streets.
- Plows often deposit snow or ice on sidewalks during normal plowing. Unfortunately, there is no economical technology that allows the city to avoid this.
- City is not responsible for keeping mailboxes clear of snow/ice, including that which may be plowed on or around them.
- Schools and privately owned lots and roads are not maintained by city crews.
When do we plow?
The vast majority of winter events requiring road treatment are small, that come without much warning and require treatment any time of the day or night. The city may apply rock salt, a liquid brine solution or a combination thereof at any time, often up to 24 hours ahead of any actual precipitation, during and after the event. Snow plowing will occur anytime the city deems it necessary, generally at 1 inch of accumulation. The city will plow curb-to-curb where there are no obstructions. In many smaller events only major roads, hills and trouble spots require treatment.
In a large event, defined as a total snowfall accumulation of 4 inches or more, the city's goal is to plow all streets within 24 hours of the end of the snowfall. Please note that the 24 hour goal depends on the overall amount of snow accumulation and whether there is blowing snow, ice or other adverse conditions that could slow progress or divert resources. Additionally, full event cleanup, which includes clearing all parking lanes and refined plowing in cul-de-sacs and other areas often takes longer than 24 hours.
Road plowing priority
Major roads, school routes, hills and other known trouble spots are treated first, followed if necessary, by local roads. Plowing will occur on local roads in events smaller than 4 inches, but using only street maintenance crews. In a large event, local roads are prioritized by the next day's trash route. Roads with less vehicle traffic will often retain more snow or ice as there is less friction to wear it away.
Bike lanes are treated along with major roads. Protected bike lanes are treated within 24 hours.
Driveways and plows
Some simple tips can help keep driveways free of snow from plows working the roads:
- Wait till after plows have come by to clear driveway
- Clear area before driveway in the direction of traffic
Residents and/or property owners are responsible for removing snow/ice from adjacent sidewalks, crosswalk ramps and bus stops. Residents/property owners will receive only one warning, per season, before incurring fines. For more information, please visit the Community Standards sidewalk page.
When a snow emergency is declared, special parking restrictions may go into effect. Where street parking is normally permitted, restrictions would allow vehicles to be removed so city services and emergency vehicle access can be maintained. "Snow emergency" streets must be kept clear of parked cars at all times during the emergency. Vehicles left in place on these streets may be ticketed and towed. Residents will be alerted to a snow emergency via CTN Channel 16, a2gov.org, Facebook, Twitter, NextDoor, and local media.
Free residential sand/salt
During the winter, the city provides residents with up to five gallons of a sand/salt mixture, per visit, at various locations around Ann Arbor to help treat sidewalks. Residents need to bring their own shovel and bucket as well as load material themselves from the marked piles. Sand/salt mixture is not for contractors or landscapers. Material is available as of Monday, Nov. 30, 2020, with the exception of Gallup Park.
Locations for pick-up include:
- Veterans Memorial Park
- Gallup Park
- Almendinger Park
- 721 North Main Street
- Buhr Park
- Burns Park
- Leslie Park