Snow & Ice Removal Operations
Winter Parking Ban
Annually, on November 15th the Town's winter parking ban goes into effect and continues through April 1st. The ban is in effect from midnight to 6 am. The parking ban will allow the Highway Department crews to plow and open roads in a more efficient and timely manner. Illegally parked vehicles are the biggest obstacles in effectively removing snow from the roadway. Vehicles that violate the winter parking ban will be ticketed by the police and receive a $15 fine. Vehicles that directly hamper snow removal efforts will be ticketed and towed at the owner's expense.
Your cooperation with the parking ban will be greatly appreciated.
Winter Snow Removal Operations
A Resident's Guide to Winter Snow Removal Operations & Procedures
The Town of Littleton Highway Department is pleased to issue "A Resident's Guide to Winter Snow Removal Operations and Procedures". The intent is to advise Littleton residents of the Highway Department winter snowplow plowing and sanding procedures and to obtain your assistance so that the town roads can be restored to normal conditions as promptly as possible after a winter storm. Your cooperation is essential if the Department is to achieve this objective. We at the Highway Department thank you for your assistance and patience.
The Highway Department is devoted to providing the residents with dependable snow removal in the shortest time possible. Your cooperation will benefit all of us during a snowstorm. If you have any questions concerning the Town's snow removal practices, please call 978-540-2670. We will try to assist you in any way possible.
Snow Plowing Operations
The following is a general description of Littleton's snow removal procedure. As you are aware each storm is different, but we try to follow our snow removal procedure as closely as possible:
Beginning of the Storm - When a snowstorm begins, the Department responds by treating and salting all roads. Treating these roadways serves two purposes: it prevents the snow from bonding and compacting to the pavement and it keeps traffic moving. Six sanding trucks equipped with sanders are used for this operation.
During the Storm - Plowing operations begin when approximately three inches of snow accumulate on the ground. 11 Highway vehicles and 18 to 20 private contractors are called in to assist with snow removal operations. Each vehicle is assigned to a pre-determined route and will remain in this pattern (repeating the route) until the storm subsides. These routes have been designed such that each piece of equipment completes one circuit of the route in 2 to 2 ½ hours barring equipment breakdown, heavy traffic, or unanticipated emergency elsewhere in Town. The main objective "during" the storm is to keep roadways passable. At the end of the storm, the plows begin to widen out all roads by pushing back the amassed snow beyond the edge of the road. Residents may want to wait until the roads have been widened out before clearing the entrance of their driveways.
Following the Storm - Once the snowfall has stopped and all roads are cleared of snow, post-storm sanding and salting commences. The actual treatment method chosen is based upon the existing temperature and conditions. All are again sanded and salted to improve traction and melt the remaining snow and ice.
Please be advised that the snow must not be shoveled or plowed back into the street from the resident's driveway. This creates a hazard to traffic and requires our staff to return to clear it from the street.
Snow & Ice Mailbox Replacement Policy
Another area of concern is mailboxes. We do not deliberately knock over or damage mailboxes. The primary cause of mailboxes being knocked down is heavy snow that is thrown by the moving plow. On rare occasions, a mailbox is struck by a plow due to reduced visibility during a snowstorm and/or snow banks. Remember, any installation within the right-of-way (including a mailbox) is placed there at the owner's risk. Hence, residents are encouraged to place mailboxes at the maximum allowable distance from the pavement. Mailboxes should also be inspected regularly to insure that they are secure and that posts are not rotted.
The Town does not replace mailboxes if damaged by snow being discharged by the snowplow. The Town only assumes responsibility if a Town plow comes into contact with the mailbox or post.
The Town does not replace plastic mailboxes. Plastic mailboxes in cold weather become very brittle and are not well -suited to withstand this type of environment. The Town also does not replace mailboxes that are in need of repair due to lack of maintenance, vandalism or have a spike-type support. Homeowners should check the condition of their mailbox and post before the ground freezes and make any necessary repairs. The Town will not be responsible for damage to any mailbox or post if the front of the box extends past the curb line and/or is within 6 inches from the curb line.
The Town will only replace mailboxes if the Town's plow came in contact with a well-maintained mailbox or post. The Highway Superintendent, or their designee, will inspect the reported damage to determine the cause of the damage to the mailbox and/or the post. If the Superintendent, or their designee, determines that the damage is a result of the Town plow hitting the mailbox or post, the Town staff will attempt to make the necessary repairs. The Town will replace the damaged mailbox and/or post with a standard-style metal mailbox and/or wood post.
Mailboxes to be fixed will be put on a list and repaired when the Highway Department is back on a regular schedule and all other weather-related priorities are completed.
A Claim should be submitted to the Highway Superintendent immediately following the storm so that they can witness the damage and make their determination. Late claims are difficult to verify and will likely be denied since the Highway Superintendent may not be able to adequately determine the cause of the damage.
Please call the Highway Department at 978-540-2670 or use the "Report an issue" form on the website to submit a claim for mailbox damage.
State Numbered Routes
The major highways in Littleton (Routes 119, 2A, 110 and obviously 495 and 2) are under the jurisdiction of MassDOT-Highway Division. The State Highway Department and not the Town of Littleton Highway Department, therefore, perform all snow removal for these roads. Any questions or concerns regarding these roads should be directed to the District 3 Office of the MassDOT Highway Division at 508-929-3800.
Availability of Sand
Residents can pick up free sand at the Highway Department Operations Center located at 39 Ayer Road during normal operating hours; Monday through Friday 7 am to 3 pm (5-gallon pail maximum).
Residents Can Help
Residents can assist the Highway Department during a snowstorm by heeding these suggestions:
- Observe all parking bans
- Reduce your speed and drive cautiously
- Remain off the road during snowstorms unless absolutely necessary.
- Do not allow children to make snow forts at the edge of the road.
- Do not plow, blow or throw snow back into the roadway.
- Before final cleanup of your driveway, check the road. If it does not appear to be widened out, a plow will probably 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.
- If possible deposit snow from clearing your driveway to the "downstream" side such that the plow carries it away from your driveway. This will minimize the redeposit of cleared snow back into your driveway entrance when the Town's plow does push back the road edges.
Finally, please have patience. Snow plowing is a time-consuming and laborious job covering approximately 62 miles of roadway. With the amount of equipment working, most roads get plowed simultaneously so the wait to have your road opened is minimized.