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Indy's Snow and Ice Plan

Follow the Department of Public Works on Twitter this winter for real-time updates on each snow fight @IndySnowForce.

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See which streets are being plowed in real-time and see what's been plowed in the last 8 hours with Indy Snow Force Viewer.

How Indy Plows Snow

Streets are plowed in a systematic manner:

Major Thoroughfares

These roads are plowed first because they link the City's police, fire and emergency services. Priority 1 roads are major snow routes and thoroughfares - including roads thousands of commuters and residents depend on every day, especially during rush hour.


  • Keystone Avenue
  • Washington Street
  • Meridian Street
  • Michigan Road
  • Fall Creek Parkway

Secondary Streets

Roads in this category are highly traveled, but not as much as primary routes. As a general rule, these routes feed into Primary Snow Routes.


  • Southeastern Avenue
  • Ditch Road
  • Five Points Road
  • Tibbs Avenue
  • Mitthoefer Road

Residential Streets

When the City receives more than 6 inches of snow the City will activate private contractors to plow residential streets. Residential Streets are not salted.

Neighborhoods and subdivisions in which homeowners associations (HOA’s) provide snow removal service do not receive additional plowing from the City or City contractors.

At the beginning of each shift, each driver is given specific route assignments.

The driver plows and treats streets within his or her assigned route one at a time.

Every winter storm is different, so Indy Snow Force’s response strategy and the time needed to plow and treat streets will vary depending on specific storm conditions.

Long, uninterrupted snowfalls require streets to be plowed and treated repeatedly until the snow stops.  These long, uninterrupted snowfalls that drop more than 4 inches of snow will affect how quickly the Indy Snow Force can clear streets.

Colder temperatures, wind, and cloudy conditions after a storm can lengthen the time it takes to treat and plow streets.

Wet, heavy snow also often increases the time needed to plow and treat streets.

Indy Snow Force Drivers Have A Big Job

Indy Snow Force drivers are responsible for 6,900 lane miles of roadway, that’s more than the following cities:

  • Cincinnati: 2,986 lane miles
  • Cleveland: 3,000 lane miles
  • Columbus: 6,400 lane miles
  • Dayton: 1,600 lane miles
  • Detroit: 2,000 lane miles
  • Kansas City: 6,000 lane miles
  • Louisville: 1,400 lane miles
  • Minneapolis: 3,200 lane miles
  • St. Louis: 3,100 lane miles
  • Toledo:  2,700 lane miles

Indy Snow Force drivers are responsible for 396 square miles, much more than their counterparts in many other Midwestern cities:

  • Cincinnati: 79 square miles
  • Cleveland: 82 square miles
  • Columbus: 277 square miles
  • Dayton: 57 square miles
  • Detroit: 139 square miles
  • Kansas City: 319 square miles
  • Louisville: 386 square miles
  • Minneapolis: 58 square miles

In fact, Indy Snow Force drivers are responsible for a larger area in square miles than their counterparts in many other major U.S. cities:

  • Denver: 153 square miles
  • Detroit: 139 square miles
  • Philadelphia: 134 square miles
  • Portland: 133 square miles
  • Milwaukee: 96 square miles
  • Baltimore: 81 square miles
  • St. Louis: 62 square miles
  • Washington, D.C.: 61 square miles
  • Pittsburgh: 55 square miles
  • Boston: 48 square miles

Plow crews in Indy's suburban communities are sometimes able to clear their streets sooner than Indy because these cities are much smaller.  In fact, Indy's 396 square miles are more than double the combined square miles of all the suburban communities listed below:

  • Avon: 14 square miles
  • Brownsburg: 11 square miles
  • Carmel: 48 square miles
  • Fishers: 35 square miles
  • Greenwood: 21 square miles
  • Plainfield: 22 square miles
  • Westfield: 27 square miles
  • Zionsville: 10 square miles

Resources:  Salt, Trucks, and Personnel

Indy Snow Force treats roadways with an enhanced deicer. This deicer contains a pre-wetting agent, coloring agent, and a corrosion inhibitor. It is a highly effective at melting snow and ice under most conditions. The deicer remains free-flowing at low temperatures, and adheres to the road surface more effectively than dry salt, minimizing loss of deicer from wind and traffic scatter, providing more efficient deicing.

Indy Snow Force applies salt during and after snowfalls for maximum effectiveness.

Deicing products and salt lose their effectiveness below 20 degrees, especially on lightly traveled

  • More than 48,000 tons of salt on hand or pre-ordered
  • Snow Plow Trucks
  • 290 Indy Snow Force Employees

Residents and Businesses Have Roles, Too:  Shoveling Sidewalks and Driveways

Shovel your sidewalk:  Under City Code, property owners are responsible for clearing snow and ice off sidewalks that abut their properties or are on their properties.  This applies to both residences and businesses.

When shoveling your driveway, do not shovel or push snow into the street or onto a sidewalk.  City Code prohibits shoveling snow into the street or onto a sidewalk. Pile snow in a yard or another spot away from a sidewalk, driveway or steps.

Apply salt, sand or cat litter to icy steps and paths.

More Ways Residents Can Help

  • Drive with extra care and leave additional distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.
  • Maintain a distance of no less than 100 feet or four car lengths behind a snow plow truck.
  • Avoid passing snow plow trucks because the drivers cannot always see a smaller car about to pass.
  • Follow snow emergency laws when a snow emergency is declared.
  • When possible, park vehicles in driveways or parking lots and off streets to give plow trucks room to plow.
  • Check on senior citizens, persons with disabilities and other neighbors with mobility impairments.
  • When the snow begins to melt, clear snow from in front of storm drain inlets.  This will allow other melting snow and ice to flow freely into storms sewers.

More Indy Snow Force Facts

  • As Indy has more than 200,000 private driveways, moving plowed snow from private driveways would add weeks to each plowing effort.
  • The City would have to purchase dozens of tractors at $75,000 each, which would add millions to the City budget for purchasing and maintenance.

Indy Snow Force personnel have other job responsibilities including, but not limited to the following:

  • Patching potholes
  • Parks maintenance
  • Greenway Trails maintenance
  • Alley maintenance
  • Channel maintenance
  • Forestry
  • Mowing
  • Graffiti removal