Snow & Ice Control FAQs

Public Works sets a time-based goal depending on the severity of the winter weather. Primary and secondary roads are the main priority. The goal is to get every house within a quarter mile of a plowed and treated street after the primary and secondary roads are complete. Residential streets are plowed last. Refer to the Snow Updates and time goals on for more information.

The threshold for plowing residential streets at two inches better aligns the City’s snow and ice control operations with best practices among peer communities and significantly improves resource management and effectiveness of the entire operations allowing for quicker response to treat all streets so the treatment can be more impactful sooner.

From a practical standpoint, trying to plow less than two inches of snow on residential streets can make conditions worse. There is usually quite a bit of snow packed to the pavement on residential streets and plowing can remove top layers providing traction which then makes conditions more slick.

For snow events that end with less than two inches of accumulation, salt can be applied on all residential streets much sooner. The reason for this is that it takes much less time to treat residential streets with salt, than to first plow and then treat residential streets. Faster salt treatment should help with melting and improved conditions on residential streets.

Because crews focus on plowing all primary and secondary roads prior to plowing residential streets, a two-inch threshold for residentials compared to primaries and secondaries will not delay plowing of residential streets for events over two inches whatsoever.

Residential streets are broken into routes. Routes are rotated in the sequence of operations so no one is always first or always last.


The goal is to have all streets plowed and/or treated within the stated time frame (see above FAQ) once precipitation and/or sustained winds end. For example, if more than 10 inches of snow falls and the precipitation ends at 2 a.m. on Sunday, crews try to have all roads plowed and treated by 2 a.m. Tuesday. (More than 10 inches of snow is a Level 4 response, which means all roads are plowed and treated within 48 hours.)

Primary Routes: Major multi-lane roads or two-lane roads with high volume
Secondary Routes: Minor thoroughfares
Residential Routes: Local streets, including dead-end streets and cul-de-sacs

Primary routes are major multi-lane roads or high volume two-lane streets, such as Pryor Road, Langsford Road, Todd George Parkway, and Longview Road.

Secondary routes are defined as minor thoroughfares, and are typically the main streets that go into neighborhoods or subdivisions, such as Orchard Street and O'Brien Road.

Residental routes are smaller side streets and cul-de-sacs off the secondary routes such as Williow Way and Madison Street.

Rock salt: Anti-icing material and also a de-icing material
Salt brine: Anti-icing, saltwater solution used to prevent winter precipitation from bonding to the pavement
Calcium chloride mixed with rock salt: Used when temperatures drop into the teens
Beet juice mixed with brine and rock salt: Accelerates melting and helps materials adhere to the roadway

Crews complete pre-established routes based on priority. Primary streets are completed first, then secondary streets, and then residential streets. The main roads leading into neighborhoods are usually secondary streets, which are plowed before residential streets.

No; I-470, US-50, M-291 and M-150 along with the respective interchanges and frontage roads are generally owned and maintained by the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), 888-Ask-MoDOT (888-275-6636).

Driving a snow plow is exhausting and difficult. In the interest of safety, drivers get two 15-minute breaks and a 30-minute lunch break during their 12 hour shift. 

After the City has indicated it has completed plowing and/or treating streets, if you believe your street was missed, contact Public Works at 969-1800 or use LSConnect to report your concern. It is important to note the City does not have a bare pavement policy, so snow or ice may still be packed onto the streets even after being plowed and treated. 

The City does not plow out driveways. There are thousands of driveways in the City of Lee's Summit. Plowing each driveway would take days to complete. To minimize the problem, please deposit shoveled snow on the downstream side of the driveway. If a snow plow hits the pile, the snow will be moved into the grass, not back in your driveway. 

There are several reasons you may see a snow plow out on roadways when it is not snowing:

  • Early in the season, each driver participates in an all day "dry run" drill to sharpen skills and learn the routes.
  • Following a snow event, drivers may be out checking streets.
  • Drivers may be pre-treating streets with with a salt brine solution or rock salt prior to a winter storm. The salt brine solution is sometimes applied up to a week in advance provided that rain is not in the forecast.

Snow plows are dispatched along with emergency equipment to assist during fire or police emergencies as necessary. 

Snow packed onto the roadway by cars driving over the snow is extremely difficult to remove, especially on residential streets. Lee's Summit does not have a bare pavement policy. 

While residents are not legally required to move vehicles off the street, it does help plow drivers if there are fewer obstacles, so please remove vehicles, basketball hoops and trash cans when possible. We also ask residents to remain patient. Crews have more than 1,000 lane miles of streets and cul-de-sacs to plow and treat.

Snow and salt are both white and it can be hard to tell if salt has been applied. To be effective, salt needs to mix with snow which is accomplished with traffic on the street. Salt also becomes less effective in low temperatures.

Report damage to Public Works at 969.1870. During heavy snowfall it is difficult for crews to distinguish between the curb and road and some yard damage may occur.

There is not an ordinance requiring property owners to clear sidewalks. However, property owners are encouraged to clear snow for safety reasons.

Each snow plow is assigned a route. If a truck spreads salt while driving to their destination, there wouldn't be enough salt left to spread along their assigned route. If the truck plowed while en route, it would delay the plowing of that truck's assigned route.

The decision to salt or plow depends on weather conditions. If the temperature drops below 20 degrees, salt is ineffective. But if the temps are expected to rise above 20 degrees and stay steady, salt would be more effective. Plowing under the wrong conditions can create a slick street surface and dangerous ice. 

The only contractors the City uses are for some public parking lots and some sidewalks around city facilities, as well as the downtown area.