To top

Snow Removal Winter 2018-19: What’s the Plan?

December 23, 2018

Winter is here, bringing in the cold, blustery winds, the longing for comfort food and of course, snow.
Between Christmas and New Year’s, we all want to travel, and we need our roads cleared.
If you are a southerner, the concern for snow removal is probably pretty low, especially since a dusting tends to shut down schools and city operations. However, for northerners, it is a real concern, with winters being pretty rough the past two years, having large amounts of snow dumped on them in very short windows of time. This leads to a big concern for getting the white fluffy nuisance out of the way cleanly, efficiently and cost effectively.

Challenges of Safe Snow Removal

Cities dealing with such large quantities of snow face many challenges, one of which is where to put it. Coastal cities battle with the temptation to just dump it into harbors, which does so much damage to the ocean ecosystem it is not a viable option. Last year in the city of Boston, they created a massive snow pile, known as a “snow farm” and while this was a necessary evil, it left a mound of trash weighing in at 40 tons. This is typical for any major city, with limited space and fighting against a short time line.

Prioritizing where snow is removed first has been established for some years now, with emergency and necessary personnel areas being plowed out first, such as hospitals, police departments, fire departments and then government buildings. However these locations are not always near one another and can take time to travel between in order to get the snow out fast.

Timing is everything. One of the biggest challenges for any city is to “get ahead” of the storm. When snow begins to fall, weather watchers report the rate of snowfall to help those trying to remove it. When it is a fast moving storm, with heavy snowfall rates, crews need to get out early to get the snow removed quickly. One of the biggest mistakes any city can make is delaying the start of snow removal.


Looking for environmentally sound methods to remove snow is critical to the success of any city’s winter plan. Securing more acreage for snow farms is critical. Having only one is not enough, even for small cities. For a small city like Boston, this year the plan includes three additional areas for snow piles to accrue. The city has also decided on trucking snow out if necessary.

When figuring out the best methods to get to the priority locations, using a program like MyRouteOnline can help immensely. Because the program allows for time gaps, city planners can use it to plan efficient routes, with as much time as needed to get the job done in each location. This will save money through fuel efficiency and the time it takes to actually get to all the locations.

Getting the plows out at the right time is key to getting snow removed quickly and efficiently. Cities have decided to continue monitoring the storm tracks, releasing the crews when they feel the snow has reached the level where it becomes a problem for travel and safety.

Winter brings many wonderful activities through the season, whether you love building snowmen or sledding downhill. Tasty hot chocolate and comfort foods like chicken pot pie or beef stew mark the season, warming us up after being out in the cold. Snow removal is one of the least enjoyable things about winter, however with good planning, and the help of MyRouteOnline, it can become a manageable part of the season.