City of Southfield Snow Removal Protocols & Procedures

January 25, 2023

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Snow Plow

The City of Southfield recognizes that dealing with snow, ice covered roads and potholes are inconveniences we all must face. We make every effort to maintain and repair all roads within the City's jurisdiction in a timely manner. Our road crews do their best to clear the roads as quickly and safely as possible in addition to repairing potholes as they occur when possible.

With every major snowstorm, major roads are plowed first, followed by Priority 2 roads (Collector streets) and potentially hazardous locations. Collector streets and potentially hazardous intersections and hills are plowed or salted after major city streets are completed, followed by all local roads. The City requests that all vehicles be moved off residential streets to facilitate plowing.

Please follow these guidelines to help City of Southfield crews facilitate snow removal:

  • Don’t Park on the Street! Move your cars out of the street and especially cul-de-sacs into the driveways when an accumulating snow is predicted. It is difficult to maneuver trucks around on dry pavement let alone in icy conditions.
  • Give plows & salt trucks room to maneuver. When applying salt and plowing snow they have to change lanes, back up and make more frequent stops.
  • Don’t pass trucks when salt is being applied or snow is being plowed. Keeping control of your vehicle can be extremely difficult.
  • Don’t pull out into the intersection when snowplow trucks are approaching.Drivers cannot control the snow coming off the plow blades. The snow often contains rocks and other debris from the roadway.
  • Don’t shovel snow into the street when clearing sidewalks, driveways and parking lots. This makes clearing the roadway more difficult and creates more hazardous ice patches.
  • Dig out Fire Hydrants – if there is a fire hydrant at your curb, please try to uncover it. In the event of a fire emergency, this could help save a life by assisting the fire department to locate the hydrant more quickly.

Which roads get plowed first?

The City of Southfield prioritizes snow and ice control operations to make the roads safe and accessible during the winter season:

  • Priority I – Major City and County Roads
  • Priority II – School & bus routes, Secondary roads (collector streets), and other potentially hazardous locations
  • Priority III – Residential streets

Why don’t subdivisions always get plowed?

Plowing operations on local roads (subdivisions) will be initiated when snow accumulates more than four (4) inches. Southfield’s 246 miles of local roads take 36 hours to clear after a snowstorm passes. When snow accumulates eight or more (8 +) inches or we have complications like freezing rain or more snow fall, clearing will take longer than the standard 36 hours. For snowfalls less than four (4) inches, we salt and treat the hills, intersections and curves as needed.

What about the lump of snow in my driveway?

Snow plows typically leave a lump of snow at the ends of driveways as they clear the roadways. Residents are responsible for clearing the lump of snow at the end of their driveway. If you have a neighbor that needs help, please give them a hand. Please do not shovel the snow back into the street. It can create dangerous ice patches for all drivers.

Following please find information to help keep you and your family safe and to minimize some of the potential frustrations of the winter season:

  • Instruct children to stay away from the roads that are being plowed even when waiting for the school bus.
  • Children should not play in ditches or by the side of the road. They should never build snow forts close to the road, not even at the end of a driveway.
  • Never throw snowballs at vehicles. This could cause an accident resulting in personal injury or property damage.
  • Move parked vehicles off roadsides when possible so plow drivers can safely clear the roadways.
  • Keep rocks, timber fences, flower beds, etc. away from the road right-of-way.
  • Keep garbage cans off the shoulder and in your driveway so that they do not get damaged by snow removal operations.


Following are some steps that you can take when clearing your driveways to reduce the amount of snow that may get piled into your driveway as the road is plowed:

  • If possible, clean driveways and around mailboxes after we have finished plowing the roads.
  • If this is not possible . . . When clearing your driveway, place as much snow as possible in the direction of travel downstream on your side of the road.
  • Clear an area upstream from your driveway opening to form a “pocket” for the snow from the road to go into. The result will be that more of the snow from the clearing of the road will go into the open “pocket” area and less will end up in the end of your driveway.


Residents are responsible for clearing snow and ice from sidewalks and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) curb cuts in front of their homes within a twenty-four (24) consecutive hour time period per City Code. Clearing sidewalks is very important to maintain safety for pedestrians.


Snow being discharged from the plow can damage or knock down your mailbox without having any contact from our equipment. It is the City’s policy to consider replacing mailboxes only if they are hit by our equipment.


If your neighbor is elderly or physically incapable of removing the snow from their sidewalks, please consider offering to help. This random act of kindness will be greatly appreciated. Good neighbors make great communities!


The City has increased the number of crews that are actively repairing potholes throughout the city on a priority basis. Please contact the City's special hotline at (248) 796-4000 to report any potholes or other road issues. Visit the City’s Web site at to determine the jurisdiction of all primary roads in the City of Southfield. Information on how to contact the other appropriate agencies of needed repairs or other issues is also included.


For more information, call the Streets & Highway Division of the Public Works Department at (248) 796-4860 or visit the City’s Web site at Your patience and cooperation during this process is greatly appreciated.