Winter Operations

Winter storms can be trying for all of us, motorists, residents, and snowplow operators alike. The goal of the Public Works Department is to remove snow and ice from our roadways as rapidly and efficiently as possible while keeping roads open and essential traffic moving. This does not mean bare, dry pavement should be expected after each snowstorm.Entering Bedford Sign

The aim of snow and ice control operations is to return road surfaces to normal winter conditions as soon as feasible within the limitations of this policy and our limited resources. With proper use of storm forecasts, personnel, equipment, and materials, the desired result can usually be attained. However, flexibility is needed to adapt to a variety of circumstances and conditions during a snow or ice storm.

This dedicated group of Town employees is devoted to working "around the clock" in order to return our roadways to normal conditions after each snow/ice event as quickly as possible. As always, your cooperation is necessary for the successful completion of this important task.

The intensity, timing, and duration of each storm can be different, however, as a storm begins, the following procedures will be followed as closely as possible.

View the Winter Operations mailer by clicking here.


All storm conditions are dictated by temperature, the amount of moisture present in the storm, wind speed, and duration. The combination of these factors is directly related to the conditions that dictate how a storm will be dealt with. Freezing rain, sleet, wet snow, dry snow, amount of snow, wind conditions, and the time of day all contribute to storm conditions.

The Storm Begins

The DPW responds by treating roads with a sand/salt mixture. This application provides traction and prevents snow from bonding to the pavement. Not all roads can be treated "first". Hills and bus routes are a priority.


This operation begins when 2 to 3 inches accumulate. In combination with contracted equipment, town vehicles are assigned to a predetermined route and will remain in their pattern until the storm subsides. The main objective is to keep roads open and traffic flowing. At the end of the storm, plows will widen all roads curb-to-curb and clear intersections.Snow plowed on the side of the road

Note: Residents may want to wait to clear their walks and driveways until the road has been widened.

Please do not be misled by plow trucks riding with their plows up. During an extended storm, vehicles must return to the garage for fuel or repairs, or to be reassigned to another section of Town.

Post Storm

When all roads are clear and the storm subsides another round of sand/salt mix is applied to improve traction and melt the remaining snow and ice. The Town then starts clearing select sidewalks and the Minuteman Bikeway (from the Lexington Town Line to Depot Park). 

Spot Sanding

There are times during light precipitation and freeze/thaw cycles when "spot sanding" is necessary. This is generally initiated by the Bedford Police Department. If the Police Department and/or the DPW feels spot sanding is needed in an area after hours, the DPW will be called in to address the immediate problem. Once that problem is addressed, the crew will then check other areas of the Town to see if treatment is needed elsewhere.


On most Town roads, the Town right-of-way extends 5 to 10 feet beyond the edge of the pavement.

Mailboxes installed in the Town right-of-way are placed at the owner's risk. Each mailbox installation should be sufficiently solid to withstand snow-clearing efforts by the Town. A large highway plow moves many tons of snow widening roadways. The rolling action of the snow will destroy or damage all but the strongest of mailboxes and posts.

  • Residents may want to place a second post in front of the box or a brace behind the box to break the force of the snow coming toward it.
  • Place reflectors so the box and post can be seen under poor visibility conditions.
  • It will be the responsibility of the adjacent property owner to clear snow around mailboxes to assure mail delivery by the U.S. Postal Department.

The DPW repairs mailboxes as a courtesy. It is Town's policy that mailboxes will not be repaired or replaced unless it is evident that the damage was caused by the plow blade and not the force of the snow. If a mailbox gets replaced, it will be with a standard mailbox and post only.

What You Can Do to Help….

  • Obey winter parking bans and Town By-laws. No parking on roadways during snow events. ( Bedford rules and regulations section 5)
  • Please be patient. Plow operators work in extreme conditions for extended periods of time with little rest.
  • Sand is available to residents (for home use) at the Springs Brook Park entrance.


Driving in winter snowstorms should be avoided whenever possible. In every winter storm, there are times when road conditions are hazardous despite everyone's best effort. Our work to restore safe road conditions is completed quicker and more efficiently when roads are free of traffic and illegally parked vehicles. If you must drive, make sure your vehicle is properly prepared. Be cautious, be courteous, and make sure to allow extra time.

Thank you for your continued cooperation and support. If you have any questions regarding Town By-laws, parking restrictions, or winter operations, please call the DPW or the Police Department.

Winter Vehicle - Equipment

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