Snow & Ice Policy
The Town of Natick is prepared for the inevitable snow we will receive this winter. The Department will continue to carry out a complete snow removal/ice control program on all streets within the Town of Natick. Because winter can be trying for residents, it is important for you to know how snow removal and ice control will be handled.
During winter storms, every member of the Department is involved with snow removal efforts. Staff are pulled from their other regular duties (such as rubbish/recycling collection and water/sewer system operation) to respond to the storm. In additional to Town staff and equipment, the Department retains the services of private snow removal contractors. During a snow plowing event, all Department and contractor staff are mobilized simultaneously and work until the storm cleanup is complete or health and safety needs require staff to rest before continuing.
Over 160 miles of roadways, forty miles of sidewalk, and eighteen school and municipal parking lots are included in the snow removal program. The Town’s roadways are divided into 42 separate plow routes covered by over 70 pieces of equipment. Additionally the Department must ensure critical access to the Police and Fire Stations, thirty-four waste-water pump stations, twelve water supply wells, four water treatment plants, and the Town’s water storage reservoirs.
The Town has the capacity to store 3,000 tons of road salt under cover and 600 yards of sand. The salt stockpile is adequate for several storms and is replenished as needed. The sand stockpile is adequate for the entire winter season. We also store 3,000 gallons of liquid anti-icing material. This material is used in conjunction with road salt for more effective and efficient anti-icing treatment.
WHEN THE STORM STARTS
An important step in dealing with snowfall is anti-icing treatment (street salting). Top priority is given to the Town’s main roads. Those roads are routes that have the heaviest year round traffic and provide the greatest town wide mobility. They usually are major arterials that run North-South or East-West. Anti-icing operations commence when frozen precipitation begins falling.
WHEN THE STORM CONTINUES
When approximately two inches of snow has accumulated and more is expected, the Department moves into snow plowing operation. Our first responsibility is to open the main roads. These arterials are the key to maintaining a steady flow for residential traffic and emergency vehicles. The plowing then continues to the remaining streets on the plow routes to “open up” each one in sequence. If the storm continues in intensity, the snow removal equipment remains in this same pattern until the storm abates. As the storm abates, equipment begins to “widen out” all roads by pushing the accumulated snow back to the curb line. Concurrently, equipment begins clearing roadway intersections. School and municipal parking lots are cleared and treated after snow removal on Town roadways has been substantially completed.
Crews continue to monitor all roads for icy spots and areas where winds redeposit the snow in traffic lanes. Usually an application of sand is applied to all intersections, hills, and curves to help improve traction.
After a substantial snowfall, accumulated snow is removed and hauled from the business districts and municipal lots. Crews are also assigned to clear storm-water drainage catch basins so that snow melt may drain. The Department makes every effort to schedule snow removal during off hours. However, snow removal procedures may cause slight delays with traffic.
SNOW PLOWING SIDEWALKS
The Town plows over forty miles of sidewalks in the same manner as the roads. Sidewalks along main roads, business districts, schools are plowed as soon as possible. Please note that not all of the Town’s 130 miles of sidewalks are included in the snow removal program. Residents and businesses are encouraged to clear snow from sidewalks long their properties.
Link to Maps of Town Plowed Sidewalk Routes: Sidewalk Plowing Routes Opens a New Window.
Just as certain as the snow will arrive we, we will displease some property owners because snow plows will deposit snow at the entrance to their already cleared driveways. Actually, we wish we could leave each driveway meticulously clear, however to do this would mean that we would never finish plowing in a reasonable time. During a storm our plows must keep the roadway pavement, or traveled right-of-way, cleared. After the storm has ended, we may need to “widen-out” and clear the shoulder. During this phase, the driveway conflict appears (a plow on widening operations fills the opening in the driveway you have cleared). We recognize this as discouraging and irritating, but with your cooperation this inconvenience can be minimized. We suggest that you clear your driveway in the manner suggested. When shoveling out the mouth of your driveway throw the snow to the right or “down-side”. DO NOT throw it in the road; it will only be redeposited when the plow comes around again. DO NOT clean snow off of your car in the road. Please DO NOT plow or deposit snow onto the sidewalks in front of your residence. It makes sidewalk plowing more difficult and time consuming.
Residents are advised that they may obtain sand or a sand-salt mix at the Department’s maintenance yard off of Oak Street. These materials are for homeowner’s use only. Please bring your own container and shovel and note there is a five gallon maximum.
LISTEN FOR SNOW ALERTS
When possible, on-street parking bans for emergency purposes are announced on radio/television stations. Please note there is no overnight parking in Natick from November 1st to April 30th of each year. Additionally, no overnight parking is allowed at any municipal parking lot. Vehicles parked illegally or abandoned on roadways are subject to towing at the owner’s expense as well as ticketing by the Police Department. Please remove your car from the street as soon as you are aware of a snow alert. Emergency overnight parking is provided at the municipal lot on Pond Street only.
During storm events, trained crews work around the clock to keep the roads open and passable. If there is a problem concerning road conditions, please call the Department of Public Works.
Remember, whether it is your driveway for which you are responsible or the 160 miles of roads that the Town is responsible for; snow removal is an arduous and time consuming job.
The Town will be aware of any impending winter storm and will alert crews before the bad weather is due to arrive. If you have already called about a legitimate driving hazard please do not call a second time. Please understand that the Town cannot shovel ridges or windrows from your driveway that were left by the snowplow, nor can Town crews plow private property.
OBJECTS IN THE RIGHT OF WAY
Personal property such as mailboxes or portable basketball hoops that are placed in the public right-of-way are placed there at the private owner’s risk. The Town of Natick does not assume responsibility or liability for damage to such items as a result of snow plowing operations.
CURBSIDE TRASH COLLECTION
During the winter months when there are snow banks along the roads, trash pick-up becomes more difficult. Please do not place trash bags, barrels or recycling bins on top of high snow banks. They should be placed on the street at the foot of snow banks or at the end of driveways. Residents should always be aware of storm conditions. If street plowing operations are underway, try to avoid placing trash bags, barrels and bins in the path of plows. Under extreme weather conditions, trash and recycling pick-up may be suspended for a period of time. Check the town’s website or call the Department for up-to-date information.
Sign up for the free 'MyWaste' smart phone app to receive alerts and information (including service delays) regarding your trash and recycling collection at: natickma.gov/902/Trash-Recycling-Collection Opens a New Window.
Link to 2022-2023 Winter Snow and Ice Policy Mailer: 2022-2023 Snow and Ice Policy Opens a New Window.
The Department of Public Works is committed to providing a safe environment for all. If you have questions pertaining to this operational policy you may contact: Brian Caissie, Highway/Sanitation Supervisor at 508-647-6562 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.