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Snow Removal Process

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City snow routes are divided into two overlapping systems that we call the arterial program and residential program. Every city maintained street in KCMO is on a plow route. 

Download our Snow Program Flyer. 

Arterial Program 

Primary streets form the first system and receive a higher level of service since they carry major traffic throughout KCMO and interconnect our neighborhoods. This program includes: 

  • Large dump trucks
  • Curb to curb plowing
  • 10 foot (minimum) plow width 
  • Plow and salt
  • Daytime/nighttime shifts
  • 36 plow routes
  • Examples: Main Street, North Oak Trafficway, Holmes Street, Wornall Road and Barry Road are primary streets.

Residential Program

The second system is focused on residential snow routes that tend to be in neighborhoods and carry local traffic. Our routes are meant to keep these residential streets passable for motorists to reach primary or arterial roadways. This program includes:

  • Smaller pick up trucks
  • One pass only-- to provide a passable lane down the middle of the street
  • 7 1/2 foot plow width
  • Primary focus: plowing
  • Salt hills, curves, and intersections
  • Daytime shifts only
  • 67 plow routes

In the event of severe snow, cul-de-sacs and dead ends will be plowed after arterial, collector, and through residential streets. This allows our crews to use their resources most effectively.

In total, the area to be plowed equates to approximately 6,400 lane miles of pavement. This is equivalent to a two-lane road from Boston to San Diego.

Tracking our progress:

The City has installed GPS tracking systems that capture and report activity for City snow plows throughout the City in real-time. View ourSnow Map for more info.

Who plows snow?

While snow removal is coordinated by the Public Works Department, it is a joint effort that also includes the Parks and Recreation and Water Services departments. The Aviation Department handles snow removal at the Kansas City International Airport and Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport.

What is a snow emergency?

In the event of severe snow, the City Manager may declare a Phase 1 or Phase 2 snow emergency (see ice and snow policy).

  • Phase 1 identifies a driving emergency, in which driving is prohibited for vehicles without snow tires or tire chains.
  • Phase 2 identifies a parking emergency, during which any vehicle parked on a snow route must be removed within two hours.
  • Citations can be issued to motorists who do not heed emergency conditions.

Parking during snowstorms:

When it snows, residents may be asked to park vehicles off-street when snow depths exceed two inches. Parking cars off-street greatly helps plows to better remove snow, especially in cul-de-sacs and dead end streets. If a vehicle must park on-street, we request the following parking practice:

  • On streets that run north/south, park vehicles on the west side of the street.
  • On streets that run east/west, park vehicles on the north side of the street.

Contacting 311 after a snowstorm: 

Please wait until one day (at least 24 hours) after the snow stops falling before contacting 311 to report slick or missed streets. This allows snow removal crews adequate time to complete multiple passes on all of their assigned snow routes.