Snow Plowing / Emergency Routes

Snow Removal Priority Plan

The Street Maintenance Division has a snow removal priority plan. The plan divides the city streets into three priority categories: priority one, priority two, and priority three. The priorities are selected on the basis of traffic volumes, steepness of hills, public transit routes, proximity to schools, access to businesses, and low-volume residential streets. The snow removal plan was designed so very few residents have to go more than a few blocks to get to a plowed street.

Average Snow Events (less than 6" of snow) 

The first goal is to have priorities one and two, as well as school and public transit routes, plowed, and deiced and/or sanded by 7:30 am, prior to the morning rush hour traffic. This goal is contingent upon the magnitude and duration of any snow event.

The secondary goal is to have all remaining priority streets plowed and any snow removed from priority streets within 3-5 working days.  Non-priority streets are typically low-volume residential streets, which are only plowed if four inches of snow accumulation is present upon completion of priority streets. For more information on severe snow storms, please see below. 

Severe Snow 

The City of Rawlins budgets, prepares, and staffs for an average Rawlins winter, which involves multiple snowstorms averaging under 6” of snow throughout the winter. However, when more than 6” of snow falls in 24 hours or less, we consider this a severe snow storm. During severe snow, we also post updates regularly to our homepage. 


For situations such as emergencies, injury, and illness, plows are dispatched with the first responders to provide passage to the residential areas where accessibility is a concern. 

The city may issue various alerts to help notify and protect our residents. Interested in receiving news from the City? Sign up for news via email or text at for “City of Rawlins News.”

  • If a snow emergency is called, all #1 priority routes have a special "No Parking" ban to allow for better snow control. These routes are clearly marked with signs. 
  • We may also issue a weather advisory to ask people to limit travel unless necessary and urgent.  

City Snow Removal 

Additional crews from Community Development and Parks & Recreation are used for snow removal during severe storms. Additional staff may also be called in to answer phones when necessary. 

Non-priority streets (Map Link) are plowed only if four inches or more of snow has accumulated once priority streets have been cleared.  When these streets are plowed, our main priority is to keep roadways open. It is too costly and time-consuming for the City to clear plowed snow away from all driveways and vehicles. Sidewalk and driveway openings are the responsibility of the property owner. 

The City’s snow response includes snow plowing, followed by snow removal from priority routes. When a severe snowstorm occurs, removal takes significantly longer than in a regular-sized storm and may involve traffic diversion around removal equipment. Give snow removal personnel time and space to work.

The City may also limit traffic, including road closures, as determined by the Police Department and Public Works Department. The approx. 1000 feet of Harshman Street from north of the Rawlins Family Recreation Center to south of the Carbon County Higher Education Center will likely be closed as it drifts in quickly. Both facilities will remain accessible from the other direction. In consultation with Carbon County School District #1, this was identified as low-priority to allow more frequented roads to be cleared first.  

Independent Snow Removal

It is not illegal for residents to clear snow in the roadways by their homes. However, it is illegal to plow snow into the streets or onto the property of another without permission. Alleys also need to remain open to allow for access to utilities, and for any alley-based parking. 

If you do move snow on the roadways, please have a plan for where to plow it and obtain all appropriate permissions. 

When the city crews plow, some snow will be pushed to the side by our plows and create a windrow, which may block driveways or parked cars. However, the City does not push snow onto sidewalks or private property. We move snow to the appropriate corner with right-of-way for storage. 

If there is snow moved onto your property by an independent person, you can call the Police Department Communications Center at 307-328-4530 for Code Enforcement to review. Notes or photos may also help us identify whom to reach out to regarding the snow plowing/removal. 

You see things we don't!

We encourage people to submit areas where there are problems to us through our website at, by calling Public Works at 307-328-4599 during regular office hours, or by calling the RPD Communications Center at 307-328-4530 on holidays, weekends, or after hours. There is often a snow plow driver working to take care of the high drift or other problematic areas during large storm events. If the community helps us know which areas are having issues, we can better use our time.


  • It's illegal to push snow into City streets or other right-of-ways. It is dangerous for you, City workers, and traffic as it creates dangerous driving conditions and humps in the road. 
  • We use gravity plows which are designed to ride on top of snow pack. Snow removal to the pavement causes issues with water valves, manholes, and the road generally. 
  • Rawlins winds cause a larger-than-normal impact on drifting. It is common on some city streets for the snow to drift into the street overnight for days in a row, causing personnel to clear the same streets repeatedly.   
  • There are approximately 85 miles of streets in Rawlins. The average snowfall in Rawlins is about 52 inches per year, which is complicated by strong winds. Because of the high cost of equipment and labor, the City cannot economically justify the removal of all snowfall from every street in the City.

How can I help when driving?  

  • Give snow removal personnel space to work.
  • Brake slowly. Allow room between yourself and the next vehicle. 
  • In reduced visibility, watch for pedestrians. 
  • Be patient. Plan in extra travel time. 
  • Use snow tires or chains when necessary.

How can I help at home?

  • Clear your sidewalk so foot traffic can continue throughout our community, including kids going to the bus and mail delivery.
  • Do not push the snow into City streets or other right-of-ways. 
  • Maintain access to your own utility equipment, such as water meters/curb stops. It is also important for homeowners to keep their own gas meters clear. According to Black Hills Energy, snow-covered meters may operate incorrectly, potentially causing gas flow or carbon monoxide issues. More information is available at
  • If you are near a fire hydrant, please help make sure it is visible from the road. It does not need to be completely snow free, but please keep it partially cleared and do not pile snow on the hydrant. 
  • Make sure you are prepared to prevent frozen pipes in your home. Before the weather hits, make sure to seal cracks and holes, insulate pipes that are located in cold and drafty places inside the home, and disconnect all outside hoses. When the temperature does drop, keep the heat in your home at a minimum of 55 F, allow drips from faucets overnight, and turn on heating tape. 
  • If a severe snowstorm is predicted, please move vehicles off the street when possible. This allows easier passage for our equipment if/when plowing occurs. 


Additional Documents