Snow Plowing Operations Policy

The Tewksbury Department of Public Works is pleased to issue "A Resident's Guide to Winter Snow and Ice Operations and Procedures". The intent of this pamphlet is to advise Tewksbury residents of the Highway / Forestry Division's winter snow plowing and anti-icing / de-icing objectives and to obtain your assistance so that Tewksbury's roads can be restored to "normal conditions" as promptly and efficiently as possible after a storm. Your cooperation is essential for the Department of Public Works to achieve this objective. With your assistance and patience, we will be able to provide you with the important functions of our winter maintenance operation (i.e., get roads open, keep traffic flowing and restore roads to safe traveling conditions quickly). We thank you for your anticipated cooperation.

Winter Parking Ban

From November 1st to April 1st, the Town's Snow and Ice parking ban is in effect. This ban prohibits the parking of motor vehicles on any public way at any time during the above-stated time periods. This allows the DPW to plow and open roads in a more efficient and timely manner.

Illegally parked vehicles are the biggest obstacle to effectively plowing snow from the roads. Vehicles that violate the winter parking ban will be ticketed and towed by the Police Department at the owner's expense. Your cooperation with the parking ban will be greatly appreciated.

Questions regarding parking restrictions should be referred to either the Town Clerk's Office at 978-640-4355 or to the Police Department at 978-640-4381, Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30 am to 4 pm.

Snow and Ice Parking Ban By-Law Chapter 8.24 Section 8.24.010 as follows:

  • It shall be unlawful for any vehicle, other than one acting in an emergency to be parked on any street from 12 (Midnight) to 6 am. This shall take effect on November 1st of each year and end on March 31st. (A fine of $25 will be imposed for a violation of this section).
  • It shall be unlawful for any vehicle, other than one acting in an emergency, to be parked on any street, day or night, when it is snowing or when it is snowing or when icy conditions exist. (A fine of $25 will be imposed for a violation of this section).
  • Any vehicle, other than one acting in an emergency, parked, day or night, on any street in the Town, so as to interfere with the work of removing or plowing snow, removing ice, or sanding the street may be removed or towed away at the sole expense of the registered owner of said vehicle, under the authority and direction of the Superintendent of the Department of Public Works to a public garage or any convenient place. The Superintendent of the Department of Public Works, shall within a reasonable time, notify the Chief of Police of the removal of any such vehicle and of the place to which it has been removed and the Chief of Police shall give like notice to the registered owner of the vehicle. Vehicles towed away shall be stored in a safe place and restored to the registered owner thereof upon proper identification and full payment to the Town or to the Keeper of the place of storage for the expenses incurred in such removal and storage. 

Inquiries about vehicles towed away shall be made at the Police Station.

Snow Plowing Operations

The following is a general description of the Department of Public Work's Snow and Ice operational plan. As you are aware each storm is different, but we will try to follow our Snow and Ice operations policy as closely as possible.

Our Snow and Ice Program entails three steps:

  1. Anti-icing operation
  2. Plowing operation
  3. De-icing operation

Anti-icing Operation

Right before the snowstorm begins, the Department of Public Works initiates its anti-icing operations by spreading salt and liquid calcium chloride when necessary first, on the primary and collector roads, hills, and school bus routes, and last all local roads if warranted. This serves two main purposes: it prevents the snow from bonding and compacting to the pavement and it keeps traffic moving. When fully operational, eight anti-icing/de-icing material spreader trucks are used for this operation.


Plowing operations begin when a minimum of two to three inches of snow accumulates on the ground. The Department of Public Works has eleven vehicles equipped to plow snow. The Town also contracts between 20 to 60 pieces of equipment from private contractors depending on availability to assist in the snow plowing operations. Each equipment hired is assigned to a route and remains in that route until the storm subsides. The main objective during the snowstorm is to keep roads passable. At the end of the storm, the plows begin to by push back the amassed snow to the edge of the pavement. Residents may want to wait until the roads have been plowed clear before clearing the entrance of their driveways. If snow banks need to be pushed back further due to heavy build-up on the roadside, we will attempt to do so following a storm given the availability of manpower and equipment.

Town By-Law 12.04.050 Placing obstruction on traveled Public Ways prohibited.

No persons other than an employee in the service of the Town or an employee in the service of an independent contractor acting for the Town shall place or cause to be placed any obstruction which includes, but not be limited to, the depositing of snow, ice, or the pumping of water on any traveled public way or sidewalk so as to impede the flow of traffic; or hinder the snow plowing operation on such public way; or deposit snow near or on any fire hydrant so as to obstruct the access to the fire hydrant; or allow the same to remain there without first obtaining the consent in writing of the Superintendent of Public Works. All basketball hoops or other recreational equipment located on any right-of-way used by vehicular traffic shall be removed for the time period effective November 1st of each year until April 1st of the following year. Such obstruction shall not include rubbish and recyclable materials put out for collection. The Police Department will be the sole enforcing agency of this By Law.

Whoever violates this section shall be punished by a fine:

First Offense Written Warning
Second Offense $50
Third and Subseqent Offenses $100

The Department of Public Works staff are well trained and dedicated to plow "around the clock", if necessary, keeping the roads open and passable. If a plow truck is riding with its plow up, it may be returning to the garage for fuel or repairs. Please be advised that Route 38 is maintained by the Massachusetts Highway Department and not by the Town of Tewksbury Department of Public Works.

Residents should not be alarmed if they do not see their road plowed during the early part of a snowstorm. The Department of Public Works follows an assigned route plan whereby main roads and hills are plowed first. Please be patient. All Town-owned roads will eventually be plowed.

Another area of concern is mailboxes. We do not "deliberately" knock over or damage mailboxes. Remember, anything installed within the Town's right-of-way (i.e., fence, mailbox, etc.) is placed there at the owner's risk. Hence, residents are encouraged to place mailboxes at the maximum allowable distance from the pavement. Please be aware that the Department of Public Works does not reimburse for mailboxes damaged during snow plowing operations. Mailboxes should be inspected regularly to ensure that they are secured properly and that wood posts are not rotted out.

An additional obstacle to our snow and ice operation is the basketball hoops that are placed on town roads. These hoops are tough to see when it is snowing and are capable of snagging and damaging our snowplow trucks. In the event that this happens and damage is caused to the vehicle, the owner will be held responsible for the damage. Please take the time to remove the hoops as required by the Town By-Law during the winter months. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.

De-icing Operation

Once the snowfall has stopped and all roads are clear of snow, a post-storm deicing operation commences. All roads are again treated with salt and liquid calcium chloride when necessary to improve traction and melt remaining snow and ice (an exception to this policy will only be when material(s) supply are extremely low and only main roads, hills, and bus routes become more of a priority than those secondary roads during the periods of low quantities of salt availability).

Residents Can Help

Residents can assist the Department of Public Works during a snowstorm by heeding these suggestions:

  1. Observe all winter parking bans
  2. Reduce your speed and drive cautiously.
  3. Remain off the streets during snowstorms unless absolutely necessary.
  4. Do not allow children to make "snow forts" at the edge of roads.
  5. Do not plow, blow, or throw snow back into the road.
  6. Before final clean-up of your driveway, check the road. If it does not appear to be widened out, a plow will be most likely return to plow again and may push snow back into the entrance of your driveway. Doing this might keep you from clearing your driveway more than once.
  7. During plowing operations, some lawn areas located within the Town's right-of-way will inadvertently be damaged. To help keep this from occurring, we recommend installing reflectors at the edge of your lawn as a guide for our plow operators. If lawn sprinklers systems are installed please keep them away from the edge of the road. The Department of Public Works is not responsible for repairing or replacing them if damaged during snow plowing operations. Be aware that if you have installed sprinkler heads near the edge of the road, they most like are located on Town property.
  8. Finally, please have patience. Snow plowing is a time-consuming and arduous job covering approximately 150 miles of roads in Town. Some residents will have their road plowed first and some will be last, but in the end, all town roads will be cleared.

The Department of Public Works is devoted to providing the residents of Tewksbury with dependable snow and ice operation in the shortest and most efficient time possible. With your cooperation, we will all benefit from a snowstorm. If you have any questions concerning the snow and ice operations as it is explained, please call Phone: 978-640-4440, extension 228 or visit our website. We will try to assist you in any way possible.