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City of Milwaukee Snow & Ice Policy

Public safety is the number one priority when clearing snow and ice on Milwaukee’s 7,000 lane miles of streets. Snow & ice efforts impact every resident, business and visitor and are vital for maintaining safe mobility throughout the City.

The primary mission of each operation is to clear snow and ice as expeditiously and economically as possible. The goal is to restore safe motorist and pedestrian travel to minimize economic losses that occur when workers can’t get to their jobs. We also facilitate Fire and Police responses to emergencies.

Since all streets can’t be addressed at the same time, streets are salted and plowed in the following order:

  • Main arterials and bus routes to maintain mass transit
  • Secondary mains to allow safe two way traffic
  • Residential streets, dead ends, cul-de sacs and crossovers

Each operational response is based on the severity of the storm and can range from a few trucks salting incidental slippery spots to a full scale snow plowing operation that deploys over 360 pieces of equipment. The city has outlined specific goals by street type that quantify how long each segment takes to complete and the expected road condition upon completion of each operation.

When severe snow storms occur, the Commissioner of Public Works may declare a snow emergency that invokes several parking restrictions on city streets. On street parking is one of the biggest obstacles during snow plowing efforts.