Snow Removal

Frequently Asked Questions about Snow Removal

Snow and Ice Plan Summary

Snow Insert

Snow Removal Ordinance

Snow Removal Reminder for Contractors


Snow Removal Operations Map (map is stagnant and is updated at the end of each shift)

  • Our 33 staff maintain over 386.7center line miles and over 1,685 lane miles of asphalt and concrete roadway street surface.
  • We plow approximately 1,520 miles of roadway.  On the average it takes 4 passes of center line miles to clear the snow off the roadway.
  • There are 7 snow plow units.  Each unit has a motor grader and front end loader.
  • There are two 12 hour shifts per day, providing 24-hour snow clearing.
 PriorityTriggers Snow Plowing
Snow Accumulation
1 Emergency Routes2 inches
2 School Routes3 inches
3 Major Routes3 inches
 Residential Routes4 inches

It is illegal to shovel or blow snow into the street. Snow plowing route priorities have been established to provide for the safe and orderly movement of vehicular traffic throughout the City during all weather conditions, including severe winter storms.

View or Print Anti-Icing Fact Sheet (NDDOT)
View or Print Snow Insert
View or Print Snow and Ice Control Plan
View or Print Snow Emergency Route Map
Plowing snow pic
Snow Plowing
Plowing snow pic2

Priority 1: Snow Emergency Routes (Red colored roadways on Snow Emergency Route Map)

Streets designated as snow emergency routes and signed as such with specific road signs placed within the street right-of-way are given Priority One designations as they provide a network system for emergency services operations.

Priority 2: School Emergency Routes (Blue colored roadways on Snow Emergency Route Map)

Streets designated as school emergency routes are given Priority Two designations as they provide a network connection for students, parents, teachers, and school bus operations.

Priority 3: Major Routes (Yellow colored roadways on Snow Emergency Route Map)

Streets designated as Major Arterial Routes are given Priority Three designations as they provide a network connection of high traffic volume streets and business districts.

Priority 4: Residential Routes (Gray colored roadways on Snow Emergency Route Map)

Streets designated as Residential Routes are given Priority Four designations as they provide a network connection to all
residential areas and complete the street network and grid system.


: You should be extremely cautious when snow removal and sanding operations are underway. These vehicles must stop and backup frequently, so you should stay a minimum of 50 feet behind them. Remember that a typical snow plow is wider than most driving lanes.

Clear Your Sidewalks of Snow and Ice

City residents are reminded to clean all snow and ice from their sidewalk including the crosswalk of corner lots. City Ordinance requires property owners to remove all snow and ice from their sidewalk
within 24 hours after its deposit. If is is not removed it may be removed by the City and the cost
charged to the property owner. To report sidewalk problems call the City Engineering Department
at 701-355-1505 or you may Report a Concern, Issue, or Recommendation.  Please select "Engineering" under the Department heading.

Mailbox Clearance:  It is the property owner’s responsibility to clear snow around their mailbox. If it is a cluster box, it is the responsibility of those residents to clear the snow from around the cluster box.

Snow Gates 
are used to make driveways passable (8 foot width driveways) and should reduce the amount of snow deposited by snow plows into driveways.  The snow will now be deposited at the side of the driveway. It is the property owner's responsibility to ensure that sightlines do not cause safety risks. 

Contractors, businesses and residents are reminded that they shall not push snow into the street or across the street onto the boulevard when clearing parking lots and/or driveways.

Depositing snow from driveways and sidewalks into the street is prohibited by City ordinance (10-03-04) and creates a traffic hazard by leaving windrows or piles of snow in travel lanes. The fine for the violation shall not exceed $1,000. 

Adopt a Hydrant:  We ask for everyone’s help to clear snow from around the hydrants by “adopting” a hydrant in your neighborhood. This helps reduce the time it takes for the fire department to get water on a fire by ensuring that that we can find and access the fire hydrant when we need it most. By helping us you could save your neighbor’s house or your own in an emergency. The snow should be cleared 6 inches below all the caps and 3 to 4 feet around the hydrant. This gives firefighters the space they need to attach hoses and turn on water in case of a fire in your neighborhood. If you are a business owner, please take to time to ensure the hydrants in your area are kept clear also.”

Dumpsters:  It is the property owner’s responsibility to clear snow around dumpsters.  In order to ensure that the waste is emptied during the winter months the snow must be removed in front and around the container.  The container must be moved a minimum of 7 feet from where it is setting in order to be emptied.  The waste collection crew must be able to maneuver the container in order to hook it up to the truck.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Bismarck Snow Fighting Presentation Feb. 26, 2019  
Data is reflected through January 2019 and does not include the entire winter season statistics.

Street Sanding


 The Street Department has mixed out approximately 5,000 tons of sand to be used on the streets this winter. We typically sweep up 40%-60% of the sand (depending on the weather conditions) in the spring.
 If we have a dry spring, little rain when we are sweeping, we are able to recycle a higher percentage of the sand that was spread during the winter months in the Spring.

The sand that is swept up in the spring is cleaned and blended/recycled with new sand and salt for use the following winter. We add approximately 8% salt to our stockpile so it does not freeze into one solid lump of sand.

Sand Tent