Snow & Ice Information
Emergency travel for fire, emergency medical and police personnel is the highest snow removal priority. The second priority is to clear roads around schools and to facilitate traffic moving in and out of the Hamilton. Below are many of the topics and questions asked each year during snow season:
Standard Snow Removal Procedure
Every storm is different but the Town uses the following process during a typical event. When a storm is forecast the highway division of the department kicks into high gear. We consult and review several different weather reports including our own site-specific forecast and develop an action plan for that storm. An anti-icing operation is started 1-2 hours before the predicted event. Main streets and large feeder roads are pretreated. A two-truck patrol is on duty at this time checking all roads in Town for current conditions. If a potential for freezing conditions exists then a full scale salting operation will commence. If the forecast is for more than 2 inches of snow accumulation then a plowing operation will be initiated.
Snow and ice operations are conducted on a 24-hour a day, 7 day a week schedule. The DPW aims to keep clear all main routes and feeder roads and maintain a clear driving track on either side of the centerline on secondary streets within 6 hours of the end of snowfall. Residential side streets will be cleared within 8 hours of the end of snowfall. Cleanup operations after the end of the storm may continue for up to 24 hours or longer.
Snow Emergency Declarations
When a major snow event is predicted the Town will declare a snow emergency. The decision on whether a storm is a “major snow event” involves a consideration of such elements as the size of the predicted storm, amount of snow already on the ground, time of day, day of the week etc. Once a Snow Emergency is declared the information is relayed to local television and radio stations and posted on home page of hamiltonma.gov.
You can also receive an email notice if you are subscribed to Town of Hamilton Notices.
During a Snow Emergency a parking ban is in place for a minimum of 24 hours on all streets and parking lots. Individuals who impede the snow removal operations during a snow emergency are subject to ticketing and towing.
Even when snow emergencies/parking bans are lifted, cars are not to obstruct roadways.
School closings will be announced by local TV and radio as well as posted on the home page of the School District website. www.hwschools.net
What Can I Do to Help?
The Town of Hamilton is dependent on the cooperation of all to have a successful snow and ice control operation.
Moving snow into public ways, such as streets, is prohibited by Town bylaws and is subject to fines for non-compliance.
Cars parked in roadways during snow removal operations can impede removal progress and is prohibited by Town bylaws. Residents are encouraged to park their vehicles off-street during these events so Public Works can complete the task more efficiently and with better results.
After the Winter Storm
- Keep roads clear to allow plowing operations to proceed smoothly.
- Check in with your neighbors, especially those that may need assistance.
- Help dig out fire hydrants and storm drains in your neighborhood.
- If you live on a corner, clear a path from the sidewalk to the street. If not precisely on the corner, as close to the corner as you can get.
- Avoid parking too close to corners, allowing Public Safety vehicles and plows to maneuver safely.
- Be aware of children playing in the streets, particularly climbing on or running out from behind large snowdrifts. Parents should remind their children to be aware of plowing operations and traffic.
- Clear exhaust vents from Direct Vent Gas Furnace Systems to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Never run an automobile until exhaust pipe has been cleared of snow.
- Make sure backup generators are well ventilated.
- Take your time shoveling. Avoid overexertion.
- Use care around downed power lines. Assume a down wire is a live wire.
Safety Tip: Winter Car Kit
When traveling during the winter months it is advisable to have the following items in your vehicle:
- Booster cables
- Candles and matches
- Snow shovel and scraper
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Extra clothing – hat, mittens…
- Non-perishable food
- Cell phone
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. If my street is not plowed in a timely fashion where should I call for help?
A. The Emergency Center is open during all storms. Contact ECO at (978) 468-4421.
Q. Why is the snow only plowed to my side of the street?
A. The large snowplows used by the Town have fixed-angle blades and are not adjustable. On dead end streets or one-way streets this causes the snow to only be plowed to one side of the street.
Q. Why does it take the Town so long to get to my street?
A. The Town has many miles of streets to take care of and in order to keep the Town safe we focus on the main routes and feeder streets first and then the side streets after that.
Q. Why does the Town go out before the storm starts?
A. If the DPW is able to prevent a snow pack from forming on the streets we will be able to use less salt on the streets in the long run and it will also take less time for the department to cleanup after the end of the storm.
Q. Will my trash still be picked up?
A. In other than the most extreme situations trash collection is not suspended due to a storm. If you are in doubt please call Casella Waste Disposal at 978-548-4427
Q. Why is the snow pushed into the end of my driveway?
A. This situation in unavoidable. The plows strive to remove the snow from curb to curb for maximum clearance of the roadway. This is done to provide for drainage and public safety.
Q. Why do the plows push back the snow at the corners?
A. Snow is pushed back at street intersections in order to preserve sight lines for drivers and pedestrians and for street drainage. Large snow mounds at street corners create a hazard for the driver and walker alike.
Q. Can I push snow from my property into the street?
A. No. This unsafe practice is against the Town bylaws.
Q. Is sand available for residents during winter months?
A. A sand pile is located on the right in the parking lot behind the Town Hall. Bring your own shovel and bucket. The sand is for residential use only (Up to 2, 5 gallon buckets). Contractors and residents are not allowed to fill up their truck or take more than 2 buckets full.