This information provides a general overview of our snow and ice program, frequently asked questions, winter tips and also seeks your support in providing safe streets and sidewalks during snow and ice emergencies.
The Town of Norwood’s Public Works Department is responsible for removing snow from and de-icing 110 miles of roadway and 6 municipal parking lots in the winter season. The Town also plows 31 miles of sidewalk to ensure safe passage for pedestrians.
The Public Works Department uses 5 large salt (de-icing) trucks to de-ice roadways. When conditions warrant the plowing of roadways to make them safe, the Town uses 26 municipal vehicles and up to 30 contracted pieces of equipment on 32 plow routes.
Many factors can determine the Town’s response to a snow event some of which may include:
a). the temperatures before, during and after a storm;
b). the amount of accumulated snow;
c). the duration of the storm;
d). the road surface temperature; and
e). the weather forecast for the following days.
Plan of Operations:
1). When the snow starts falling, salt trucks are dispatched to apply de-icing materials such as road salt and liquid magnesium chloride to keep the roads safe.
2). When 2-3 inches of snow has accumulated on the streets a snow plowing operation usually begins.
3).Once the snow stops falling and the roads have been plowed the streets will again be treated with de-icing materials to prevent a “freeze-up” of the road surface.
4). Department personnel will then clear intersections and plow sidewalks and parking lots.
Black Road Policy:
Within four hours after the storm has ended it is the policy of the Norwood Public Works Department to have a bare (black) road surface on all main streets and arterial collectors. Residential side streets and cul- de-sacs will also receive similar treatment but may take longer to have a bare (black) road surface.
Norwood Town By-law (Article XII, Section 30) prohibits parking a vehicle on a street so as to interfere with the snow plowing or removal of snow or ice. Such vehicles will be subject to towing at the expense of the vehicle owner.
Norwood’s Parking Regulations also prohibit parking of vehicles for longer than 2 hours, 12 am – 6 am, on any street or Town owned parking facility from November 15th through April 1st.
The Town is not responsible for damaged lawns, sprinkler heads, fences, steps, trees or shrubs that are located within the public way.
The Town will be responsible for mailboxes that are physically hit by a plow. However, mailboxes will not be repaired if they are in a deteriorated condition or are damaged by snow pushback. Mailboxes and posts damaged by a snowplow will be fixed and/or replaced by the Town with a standard wooden post and black box. The Town will provide a check in the amount of $50.00 for homeowner’s use for any specialty mailbox and/or post that cannot be repaired.
All plow damage must be reported to the Public Works Department by May 1st of the current snow and ice season. Damage reported after May 1st will not be considered for repairs or reimbursement by the Town of Norwood.
Residents are urged to place stakes with reflectors along the edge of lawns and the corner of driveways / walkways.
Plow vehicles, while employed by the Town cannot be hired or requested to clear private driveways or walks.
Sand / Salt Mixture for Residents
Norwood residents can pick up a sand/salt mixture in the Babel's parking lot and also at the entrance to the Winter St. Composting Facility. Due to the construction this year, there is no mix available at the Lyman Place location adjacent to Dedham Savings. Please bring your own container (limit 5 gallons) and shovel. Commercial or private contractors not allowed.
By-law – No Snow Deposited in Public Way
Norwood Town By-law (Article XII, Section 32) prohibits the depositing of snow or ice onto or across any public way, including sidewalks or public property. This by-law addresses the ongoing problem of private contractors plowing snow from private driveways into the public way. This causes unsafe road conditions which must then be corrected by the Public Works Department.
Any such owner or agent violating this by-law shall be punished by a fine as well as any cost incurred by the Public Works Department to correct the condition.
Good Neighbor Policy:
In the interest of you and your neighbor’s personal safety, please shovel out nearby fire hydrants.
Neighbors Max Kane and Joey Ryan cleared this fire hydrant after the storm on March 7, 2013.
Please keep nearby catch basins clear of snow or ice to prevent street flooding during heavy rains or snow melting periods.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Why do you wait to plow the snow off the streets?
A. After applying road de-icing chemicals, the Public Works Department waits for the chemicals to react with the snow to create a “brine” solution. This reaction time depends on a number of variables (i.e. traffic flow, temperature, etc.). The “brine” solution keeps the snow from adhering to the street and helps in the snow plowing effort.
Q. Do some streets receive priority during a snow storm?
A. Yes. Major (arterial) roads and hills are a top priority followed by service to arterial collector roads.
Q. Do the sidewalks receive the same priority as streets?
A. No. The roads are a priority for public safety reasons. Only highly traveled and school related sidewalks are plowed when the storm has ended.
Q. Why is the snow pushed into my driveway?
A. This situation is unavoidable. The plows remove as much snow as possible to allow for maximum clearance of the roadway to allow for 2 way traffic and safe passage of service and emergency vehicles.
Q. Why does my street always seem like it’s the last one plowed?
A. Traffic volume is the determining factor for order in snow removal operations. You may feel that your street is last to be plowed, but our main objective is to make the roads safe for all drivers during snowstorms. Please be patient.
Q. Who determines the opening, closing or delayed opening of schools during a snow storm?
A. The School Department determines the opening, closing or delayed openings of school during a snow storm.
Q. Am I required to shovel the sidewalk in front of my property?
A. No. Massachusetts General Law Chapter 40 Section 21 allows cities and towns to adopt ordinances that require property owners to keep the sidewalk in front of their property free of snow and ice. Norwood does not have an ordinance that stringent.
We do have an ordinance in the Town Bylaws, Article XII, Section 26, which requires any business or commercial enterprise to clear snow from the sidewalk in front of their property within 6 hours of daylight after any snow has ceased to fall. This ordinance is rarely enforced.
Public Works does clear snow from 31 miles of sidewalks in Town. These sidewalk routes were established by a joint effort between the Public Works, Police Department and School Department. It generally focus's on areas around schools, Norwood Center and Washington Street through South Norwood. While having Public Works plow all sidewalks may sound ideal, manpower and financial
restraints prohibit that from occurring.
1). Pay close attention to weather forecasts. Be prepared by having enough fuel for your vehicle, shovels, ice melter and proper winter attire.
2). Freezing rain and wet snow create the most slippery road conditions. Take your time.
3). When snow, sleet or freezing rain is forecast please stay off the roads, if possible.
4). For storm information concerning school or business closings please tune in to local television or radio stations.
To report unplowed or un-treated streets or for further information and suggestions on the snow operations policy for the Town of Norwood, please call the Public Works Department at 781-762-1413 or contact us via email at
The Norwood Public Works Department would like to wish you a safe and enjoyable winter season.