Snow and Ice Operations


Snow Operations Priorities & Target Time Frames

Currently, there are 700 lane miles, 8 miles of alleys, 131 miles of bike lanes, 270 miles of sidewalks, 42 miles of FUTS, and 27,000 driveways in the City. Equipment makes multiple passes to completely plow all snow from these lanes. This results in over 2,600 miles traveled by city equipment in order to plow all city streets one (1) time. The Flagstaff City Council approved a snow operations policy which sets priorities for plowing as well as desired time frames. This policy includes a goal to keep first priority streets open at all times. 

First priority areas consist of the following:
  • Main Arterials
  • Major Hills
  • Downtown
  • Mountain Line Transit Routes
  • School Bus Routes

All other streets are considered Second Priority Areas.

Route maps depicting First Priority Areas and areas not maintained by the City are available at the Snow Operations - Snow Routes by Maintenance Agencies webpage. 

The policy also sets the following target plowing time frames based on the amount of snowfall received. During the months of January and February only:
  • 0 to 3 inches of snow - First priority areas only
  • 3 to 8 inches of snow - Second priority areas completed within 12 hours
  • 8 to 12 inches of snow - Second priority areas completed within 18 hours
  • Over 12 inches of snow - Second priority areas completed within 36 hours
The below targets apply from the beginning of the snow season to the end of December and from the end of February to the end of the snow season:
  • 0 to 4 inches of snow - First priority areas only
  • 4 to 8 inches of snow - Second priority areas completed within 12 hours
  • 8 to 12 inches of snow - Second priority areas completed within 18 hours
  • Over 12 inches of snow - Second priority areas completed within 36 hours

Cindering Procedures

Cinders are applied to major hills, signalized intersections, railroad crossings, shaded areas, problem areas, and stop signed intersections. We limit the use of cinders in residential areas and flat roads. Cinders must be reapplied frequently due to traffic pushing the cinders into the snow/ice, crushing, or blowing off the roadway.

Deicing Agents 

The City of Flagstaff does not currently use chemical deicing agents. ADOT crews may apply de-icer on state routes including Route 66, Milton, West Route 66 and Fort Valley Road.

Snow Operations Procedures

Continued post storm clean-up efforts include revisiting areas for additional snow removal and hauling operations, storm drain clearing, ice monitoring and periodic application of additional abrasives (especially in shaded areas or on hills), and community sweeping and clean-up after each storm event to help clear abrasives/residual storm effects.

The fleet operated by the Streets section includes (20) plow trucks, (2) six -wheel spreader trucks, (8) road graders, (3) tractor-trailers for hauling operations, (5) loaders, (2) bobcat toolcats, and (1) truck mounted snow thrower. 

During all weather events, there are three (3) critical considerations for the Streets Section: Timing, Texture (Precipitation Type), and Temperature.

The timing of snow storms can create challenges. If the City receives snow right before the morning or evening rush hours, it can be difficult to keep first priority routes open/passable. Depending upon the amount of accumulation, approximately 4-12 hours are required to plow and cinder the first priority streets one (1) time. Time is the most important element in providing efficient and safe snow operations.

If you have questions about snow operations in the City of Flagstaff, call the Public Works Office at (928) 213-2175 during normal business hours.

Additional Information

Area Resources:

Report an Issue:   
The Citizen Request Tracker is a tool that can be used to report your concerns to the city. It can be used for reporting non-emergency concerns related to snow events. Please note that these forms should not be used for issues that require a real-time response. 

**During snow events, the department receives high volumes of phone calls and reports. All reports from citizens will be reviewed and addressed in order of priority as scheduling allows.** 

westridge v plow