How We Plow
Winter in Missoula can be long and unpredictable. During the heart of the winter season, Street Division crews work at plowing snow, deicing and sanding around the clock to keep streets as safe as possible. Their work is guided by the Street Division’s Snow Removal Priority Plan, which establishes when each street is plowed.
The plan divides the city streets into three categories, Priority 1, Priority 2, and Priority 3 streets. The priorities are selected on the basis of traffic volumes, steepness of hills, public transit routes, proximity to schools, access to businesses, and low-volume residential streets. Of the total 337 miles of city streets, 84 miles (24.9%) are Priority 1 routes, 85 miles (25.2%) are Priority 2 and 32 miles (9.5%) are Priority 3, 136 miles (40.4%) are non-priority residential streets.
The goal is to have all Priority 1 and Priority 2 streets and school and public transit routes plowed and deiced or sanded by 7:30 a.m. before the morning rush-hour traffic. Achieving this goal is contingent upon the magnitude and duration of any snow event. The secondary goal is to have all remaining priority streets plowed within three working days. Non-priority streets are typically low-volume residential streets. They will be plowed when 2 inches of snow accumulation is present, with plowing taking place between the hours of 8:00 am and 4:30 pm.
What Should Residents Do?
Effective snow removal and plowing of snow on city streets is a cooperative effort of both the city street crews and local residents. The city depends on individuals to remove the plowed berms in front of driveways or cars. We understand that clearing berms is inconvenient, but it is unfortunately a byproduct of snowplowing.
- Individuals are required to place their shoveled / plowed snow on their own property and not in the bike lanes or the street. This is in accordance to the Missoula Municipal Code.
- The City recognizes that snow plowing may block some driveways and that it leaves berms around parked cars. Individuals are required to remove berms from your driveways, mailboxes, and cars.
- If possible, please refrain from parking on the main street. Your cooperation helps keep the streets safe for travel.
Did You Know?
The Street Division plows bike lanes:
- Bike Lane Map (PDF)
- A pick up mounted plow and deicer system is dedicated to plow and deice the full length and width of all bike lanes on Priority 1 streets.
Washing your car every couple weeks in the winter, when temperatures allow, is a good practice to remove road grime.