Homeowners are required to remove snow and ice from the public sidewalk abutting their property within 24 hours of a snowfall or development of icy conditions. Icy or snow-covered sidewalks can be reported to the Engineering Department at 715-261-6740. Property owners will be sent a notice to remove the snow/ice, and if they do not comply within 48 hours, the walks will be cleared by City crews and the property owner will be billed. Repeated offenses may result in a citation being issued to the property owner. The current minimum charge is about $90 per property, but the actual charge could be more depending on the amount of work involved.

During the winter, sand is available from the many sand barrels which are placed throughout the City. Please click here for a map of sand barrel locations. Sand is also available at the Department of Public Works, 400 Myron Street, from 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday (stop at “Office” for assistance; proof of City of Wausau residency required).

In accordance with City ordinance, residents are not permitted to deposit snow on any public street or alley. Snow removed from driveways, driveway approaches, and public sidewalk may be deposited on the boulevard area or on private property but not in streets or alleys. When snow is shoveled, blown, or plowed into a street, the additional snow packs down and eventually causes rough driving conditions.


The City’s 236 miles of streets are divided into nineteen plow routes, two of which are grader routes in the hills. Snow plowing may commence on arterial streets or on hills when one inch or more of snow has accumulated from a single snowstorm or successive snowfalls. Plowing may commence on all residential streets when two or more inches of snow have accumulated from a single snowfall or successive snowfalls.

When plowing operations begin early in the morning and it is necessary to provide a network of plowed streets to move traffic from the residential areas into the business and industrial area, streets designated as the Priority Snowplow Route will be plowed first. The Priority Snowplow Route consists of a network of arterial and collector streets which penetrate into residential areas so most residents will have to travel a maximum of three blocks to a plowed street. Once on a plowed street, access should be possible to all other arterial streets within the City. After the Priority Snowplow Route is completed, snowplow operators will return to the remainder of their regular snowplow route. Other streets will be plowed after the Priority Snowplow Route has been completed.

Whenever possible, snow plowing operations are scheduled to begin about 11:00 p.m. and continue through to approximately 9:00 a.m. In this case, the operators do not plow the Priority Snowplow Route first but instead plow streets in their designated areas in the manner which they find to be the most efficient. The advantages of plowing at night are reduced interference from traffic and fewer parked cars. All streets are plowed as wide as possible and intersections are cleared. In addition, there are four additional plow routes that include public parking lots in the downtown area as well as certain sidewalks at various locations through the City.

Not every snow event is the same, and therefore, not every snow plowing effort is the same. With minor snowfalls, all streets may be plowed within 6-8 hours. With a heavy snowfall of several inches, or one that occurs over 1-2 days (or longer), it may take up to 12 hours to clear all streets. Every effort is made to complete snow plowing operations as quickly and safely as possible. We do not have sufficient staff or equipment to provide round-the-clock snow plowing operations. Snow plow operators can work a maximum of 16 to 18 hours before an 8-hour break must be given.

After an accumulation of snow has developed, snow removal operations are initiated. Snow removal consists of loading snow into trucks and hauling it to a site where it is pushed into piles and left to thaw in the spring. Because snow removal involves numerous units of large equipment, it typically causes interference with traffic. Therefore, snow removal operations are usually conducted at night in the downtown area and on the busier arterial streets. Crews operate during the day to remove snow from the more isolated locations and in the residential areas where the night operation might cause too much disruption of sleep.

City crews will not remove snow from the end of private driveways, even though it has been pushed there by the snow plows. There is no other way to accomplish snow plowing operations on City streets. While some property owners may think the snow from the entire width of the street has been deposited at the end of their driveway, please be assured that snow plow operators do their best to make sure everyone receives the same amount of snow!! If you think you are truly being dumped on, please call 261-6960.

A snow emergency will be declared when it is necessary to minimize the number of parked vehicles on streets. A snow emergency may be declared when a significant amount of snow has fallen in a short period of time, or the forecast calls for significant accumulations. Parking on City streets during snow emergencies will result in issuance of parking citations and/or the vehicle being towed. When declared, the City will publish the snow emergency using various local media outlets and an announcement will be placed on the City website.  


The policy is available by clicking here.