Public Works

Snow and Ice Control

The City of Cedar Rapids will provide snow and ice control in a safe and cost-effective manner, weighing environmental impact, safety, budget, equipment, availability of de-icing materials and personnel concerns.

Snow Removal Prioritization: How crews tackle routes
Priority begins on roads with the most traffic volume. After a snowfall, it may take up to 12 hours for crews to reach every street in the city. The following is a list of how the City prioritizes snow removal efforts.

  1. Main arterials and Emergency Snow Routes  
  2. Main collector streets which connect major sections of the City
  3. Residential streets



Snow Emergencies


When a Snow Emergency is declared, parking is prohibited on Emergency Snow Routes. Emergency Snow Routes are designed to limit on-street parking during a snow emergency to allow access for snow removal equipment. Vehicles parked on Emergency Snow Routes after a Snow Emergency has been declared may be ticketed and/or towed.

Residential Odd/Even Parking Rule

When a Snow Emergency is declared, residents are asked to use the odd/even rule when parking their vehicles on the street.

  • Park on the odd-address side of the street on odd calendar day
  • Park on the even-address side of the street on even calendar days

Odd/Even rule does not apply to:

  • Posted emergency snow routes
  • Parking metered areas in the central business district, or other areas where parking is presently restricted between the hours of 2:00 AM and 6:30 AM,
  • Any street where the alternate side parking would conflict with permanently posted parking restrictions.
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Material & Forces

  • The City stockpiles more than 6,000 tons of snow-fighting material at three different sites, including a large 4,500-ton salt dome at the City Services Center.
  • The department also keeps 10,000 gallons of brine on hand and 6 brine applicators.
  • The City has approximately 90 pieces of snow removal equipment
  • Crews work two shifts around the clock between December and April to provide 24/7 service during snow falls.

Snow Fighting Applications

  • Salt – Most effective when applied during temperatures above 15 degrees
  • Sand/Salt Mix – Most effective when temperatures are dropping or conditions require the abrasive qualities of the sand for added traction.
  • Sand/Salt/Flake Chloride Mix – Most effective when temperatures plummet. This tactic uses a 3:1 sand/salt mix, and combines it with the added melting power of chloride flakes. The chloride is effective at melting snow/ice off the road at temperatures that drop to 20 below zero.
  • Salt Brine – Most effective when used before the snow or ice falls, and when temperatures at the time of application are above 15 degrees. The brine helps coat the roads and make them less susceptible to sticking snow
  • Salt Brine/Carbohydrate Blend – When blended materials are used, they better adhere to the pavement and lengthen the effective time the material is present on the road surface. 

Snow & Sidewalks
It is important to the City of Cedar Rapids to provide a safe, walkable community for all residents, regardless of age or ability. During the winter months, it is important to maintain clear and safe sidewalks and sidewalk ramps in order to ensure that residents can access their sidewalk, bus stop, or routes to businesses.

Property owners and private businesses are responsible for their sidewalk and adjacent sidewalk ramps at intersections. After a storm ends, residents and businesses have 48 hours to clear their sidewalks of snow and ice accumulations.

To report a property that is in violation 48 hours after accumulating snow or ice, call the Solid Waste and Recycling Department at 319-286-5897 or email the complaint, with an address of the property in violation, to SolidWaste&Recycling@cedar-rapids.org.

 Property Owner Responsibility 

  • Private streets are the property owners' responsibility for snow removal activities.
  • Alley snow removal activity is done based on operational needs for garbage and recycling pick up by the Solid Waste and Recycling Department.
  • All sidewalks adjacent to private property are the responsibility of the property owner. 
  • Driveways and Windrows: as a result of plowing activities, windrowing, or plowing shut or along private driveways and sidewalks, may occur. The conditions, such as cul-de-sacs, that affect the area being plowed. Crews attempt to minimize windrowing whenever conditions allow them to do so; however, windrowing is often unavoidable.
  • The objective of the City's Snow and Ice Control Plan is to maintain street surfaces (over 1,400 lane miles) sufficiently free of ice, snow or slush to allow reasonable and safe traffic within the City. The City cannot clear snow pushed into private driveways or onto sidewalks as a result of plowing activity.
  • The City will only clean snow within the confines of curb line to curb line of a street. During frequent periods of heavy snowfall accumulations, there may be times when City plows cannot physically place the snow from the curb line of the street onto City right-of-way.
  • The property owner is responsible for removing snow from around mailboxes to assure delivery of mail. The resident is also responsible for assuring that their mailbox is properly installed behind the curb line and able to withstand snow clearing efforts by the City.
On-Street Bike Lanes
  • Bike lanes will be plowed at the time the street is plowed when possible. Areas with protected bike lanes will be plowed be sidewalks crews as they are separated from the travel portion of the lane and not accessible by street plows.
  • In times of heavy snow accumulation, snow will be pushed into the bike lane in order to maintain traffic flow and parking until the accumulated snow can be removed.

Plow Damage
Crews work as hard as possible to avoid damage to personal property during snow fighting efforts. Our operators go through extensive training and certification on plow operations, but visibility is sometimes limited during snow events. 

  • SOD: In the event that damage occurs to your yard due to plowing operations, the City will repair sod damage in a timely manner in the following spring. To request sod repair, please call Public Works at 319-286-5826 or email street@cedar-rapids.org
  • MAILBOXES: If a plow damages your mailbox, reimbursement up to a maximum of $50 is available.

    Homeowners should complete a Claim/Release form and provide a copy of the purchase receipt for replacement material. Claim form and receipt must be submitted to the City’s Risk Department (email j.lynch@cedar-rapids.org, or by mail to City of Cedar Rapids, Attention: Jackie Lynch, 500 15th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52404 or by dropping off at City Services Center). 

 Mailbox Claim Form


Driving Tips

  • Do not follow plows too closely. During their operation they occasionally have to stop and back up.
  • Reduce your speeds
  • Use caution in turns
  • Avoid sudden moves
  • Accelerate and brake carefully and slowly
  • Leave more room between vehicles
  • Increase your braking distance
© 2019  Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 101 First Street SE

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