Snow & Ice Program

The Town of Needham Snow & Ice Program is directed by the Highway Division with staff assistance from every other division of the Department of Public Works (DPW).


The Snow & Ice Program coordinates snow clearing operations covering 130 miles of roadway, 54 miles of sidewalk, and 28 school and municipal parking lots. Snow & Ice also ensures consistent access to the Public Safety Building, Fire Station #2, the Recycle Transfer Station, all Water & Sewer Pump Stations, and the Charles River Water Treatment Facility. 


During snow events DPW appreciates your understanding and patience as their staff work around the clock, sometimes in extreme conditions, to keep Town's public ways safe and passable for residents and emergency vehicles.


Methodology Behind Needham's Snow Program

The Department of Public Works utilizes personnel from all divisions during snow and ice events. DPW analyzes each storm and modifies their standard operating procedures as needed. Factors for consideration when planning for a snow and ice event are: weather forecasting, timing, duration, temperature, intensity, snow amount, and moisture content within the precipitation. DPW utilizes a four-stage program to manage snow and ice events effectively: 

Stage 1: De-icing/Anti-icing Chemical and Abrasive Application

  • Prevent snow and ice from bonding to the pavement
  • Utilize up to eight chemical trucks to cover primary roads, hills and parking lots
  • Underbody scrapers are utilized as needed
  • Approximately 60% of roads are treated during this application

Stage 2: Modified De-Icing Chemical Operation

  • Activated when snow and ice accumulation reaches two or more inches
  • Plows are mounted on chemical trucks
  • Additional plow trucks assist chemical trucks in scraping designated routes and parking lots
  • De-icing liquids are blended with rock salt to help assist with the melting process
  • Under certain storm conditions, designated sidewalk routes will be plowed

Stage 3: Full Plow Operation

  • When snow and ice exceeds three inches with more snow forecasted
  • Chemical operations are suspended
  • Town staff and contractors begin to plow roadways, designated sidewalk routes and parking lots

Stage 4: Snow Removal and Hauling Operations

  • Downtown and Heights business districts, where roadways become too narrow for safe travel
  • Level 1: Curb to curb snow removal and intersection clearing
  • Level 2: Full snow removal from business districts including, snowbanks and sidewalks
  • Level 3: A state of emergency has likely been declared at this level. Most challenging storms require the removal of trees, debris, and snow and ice that obstruct access to roads. If necessary, roads will be widened with snow blowers.