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 Plowing in Ann Arbor
The City of Ann Arbor’s winter road maintenance objective is to provide surfaces that are safe to use at reasonable speeds.
- 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?
A light snow, under 4 inches, or ice event is addressed with chemical de-icing agents (salt/brine is only used on major roads/trunk lines). Treatment begins with trunk lines, major roads, bridges, signalized intersections and selected streets with curves or intersections with stop signs. The response starts with the first snowfall and takes four to five hours to complete after snow has ceased.
After trunk lines and major streets are treated, crews move to residential/local streets with traction agents, such as sand, as needed. By direction of Council, salt is not used on local streets to help protect the Huron River.
Heavy snowfall, of 4 inches or more, means additional equipment and plows are deployed. Crews and equipment are utilized as circumstances dictate. After trunk lines and major streets are treated and/or plowed, residential streets are addressed. During heavy snow storms, winter maintenance equipment is staffed on a 24-hour schedule (12-hour shifts) until all city-maintained streets are treated.
You can help large emergency vehicles and solid waste collection trucks by removing your car from curbside parking during and after a heavy snow storm.
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 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. Locations and availability for 2019-20 to be determined.