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
The following is a list of how the City prioritizes snow removal efforts. 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.
- Emergency Snow Routes: These routes are typically main arterials, bus routes, school zones, and areas near hospitals. They are designated with street signage and are prioritized for plows to clear due to their high traffic volumes.
- Main collector streets which connect major sections of the City
- Residential streets
If a Snow Emergency is declared, please remove parked cars from Emergency Snow Routes. 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. This applies from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM during Snow Emergencies. A vehicle illegally parked after a snow emergency has been declared is subject to a fine and or towing of the vehicle.
- 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.
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 3 shifts around the clock between Dec 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.
- 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
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.
Who is responsible for maintaining sidewalk access?
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.
How can residents report problems?
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. The City will not log any complaints until 48 hours have passed since the end of the storm or snow event.
- Alleys and private streets are the property owners' responsibility for snow removal activities.
- All sidewalks adjacent to private property are the responsibility of the property owner.
- Snow placed in driveways by City plows is the property owners responsibility for removal. Snow from a private driveway may not be placed on or pushed across a City street.
- The City will only clean snow within the confines of curb line to curb line of a street. The property owner is responsible for any other snow cleaning around mail boxes and to assure the mailbox is properly installed behind the curb line and able to withstand snow clearing efforts by the City.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com, or by mail to City of Cedar Rapids, Attention: Yvonne Aubrey, 101 First Street SE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401).
- 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