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Snow Emergency Guidelines

Winter storms can be trying for all of us, motorists, residents and snowplow operators alike. Our goal of keeping streets open, essential traffic moving and returning streets to safe, drivable conditions quickly can only be accomplished with your help.  Working together, we will be able to provide the important services of our winter maintenance program‚ your support and cooperation is essential and greatly appreciated.

llegally Parked Vehicles
Illegally parked vehicles are the biggest obstacle to effective snow removal efforts. Vehicles that violate the winter parking ban or otherwise hinder snow removal will be ticketed and towed at the owner's expense. Please support our efforts by parking your vehicle in conformance with the winter parking ban.

Snow Plowing
The following is a general description of how the Department of Public Works plows snow from Town streets:

Step 1 - When a snow storm begins, the DPW responds by salting the main roads. Salting these roadways serves two purposes: to keep traffic moving, and to prevent the snow from bonding to the pavement.

Step 2 - Snow plowing begins when snow accumulates two inches, or forecasts indicate that it will. There are 23 town and 41 private plows called out and assigned to plow pre-determined routes. The Town's policy is to plow the full width of the street, curb to curb, during each storm.

The Department is also responsible for plowing schools, municipal parking lots, and private ways.

Step 3 - Once snowfall has stopped and plowing is winding down, salt trucks begin post-storm salting.

Main streets and hills are a priority. 

Flat streets are treated only if icy conditions exist.

There are 857 fire hydrants in Reading.
Please help us by shoveling around the hydrant near your home.


While we try to minimize the amount of snow that gets plowed into driveways it is unavoidable. Clearing driveway openings is the responsibility of the property owner.

Plow blades cannot be lifted as they pass by a driveway.

Snow will be plowed into end of driveways as we perform curb-to-curb plowing.

You may wish to clear your driveway several times during the storm, however, we recommend that you wait until the storm plowing activities have ended to remove snow from the end of the driveway.

Shoveling, plowing or snow blowing snow back into the street or sidewalk when clearing driveways and walkways is prohibited by Town ordinance. Violators will be fined.

During each storm, 45 miles of sidewalks are plowed in the school districts and 7 miles in the business districts.

Winter Sand
Winter sand is available to residents at the DPW Facility at 75 New Crossing Road.

Plowing snow from Reading's 102 miles of public and private streets is a formidable task. It involves coordinating hundreds of private and publicly owned plows, mechanics, customer service operators, and route supervisors to inspect and control plowing activities and other support personnel. The hours can be extraordinarily long, with operations conducted during the most severe weather and driving conditions. We realize that in an operation of such size and complexity there are bound to be complaints or requests for additional service.

If you have a complaint, or a concern related to snow removal, you can call the DPW garage 781-942-9092. Calls for service should be avoided early in a storm since it may take several hours for plows to make their way to your street. If you believe that a request for service is warranted and sufficient time has elapsed for us to have responded, please call our snow complaint telephone number at 781-942-9092.

This number is staffed by trained customer service representatives who will log your complaint and relay this information to our field supervisors for quick resolution.

Remember, driving in winter snowstorms should be avoided whenever possible. In every winter storm, there are times when road conditions are hazardous despite everyone's best efforts. Our work to restore safe road conditions is completed quicker and more efficiently when roads are free of traffic and illegally parked vehicles.


Town of Reading, Massachusetts  
16 Lowell Street, Reading, MA 01867   
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