Snow Removal


The purpose of the Snow Removal Policy is to establish guidelines for snow removal for the City of Zillah, to communicate the process and level of service for snow removal, to help make travel within the city as safe as possible, and to minimize economic hardship during winter storm events.

During inclement weather, the Public Works Department will make every effort to maintain the traffic flow in the City of Zillah to as near normal driving conditions as possible in an expeditious and cost-effective manner.  The City’s goals include:
  1. Within available budget, manpower, and equipment resources, respond in a cost-effective manner appropriate to the anticipated accumulation levels of snow and ice on city roads necessary to facilitate safe travel.
  2. Assist Police, Fire, and Emergency Medical Services in fulfilling their duties
  3. Provide safe and passable school bus routes to minimize school closures.
  4. Reduce economic losses to the municipality and to businesses that result from workers being unable to travel to their jobs or patrons seeking goods and services.
STREET PRIORITY LEVELS: The City of Zillah maintains approximately 18 miles of roads within city limits.  The City is not resourced to remove all of the snow simultaneously from all of the streets necessitating that priorities be established for snow removal and sanding operations.  Street priorities are set based on traffic volume, public safety, and access to emergency facilities and schools.

General priorities during a storm event are arterials and collectors with special attention to emergency service routes, school bus routes, and public transit routes.  Certain residential streets that do not meet the above classifications receive prioritization based on chronic icing problems such as at hills, curves, or intersections that are likely to cause traffic accidents.     

Non-priority residential streets do not receive regular winter maintenance.  Snow removal service is provided on these streets only during the most extreme weather conditions.  When provided, plowing operations on residential streets will be limited to opening two lanes of travel in order to avoid excessive snow build-up at driveways and parked vehicles.
  1. First Priority:  All major arterial streets are considered to be the minimum network which must be kept open to provide transportation system connection to fire station, police station, and emergency medical services.
  2. Second Priority: Minor arterials and collector streets serving as school routes, truck routes, public transportation and utility services, and selected hot spots such as hills, curves, elevated streets, and higher traffic volume intersections.
  3. Third Priority: All remaining streets, such as residential and local streets.

List of high priority streets as depicted in Exhibit A:
First Avenue – I-82 to Yakima Valley Highway
Second Avenue – 2nd Street to Yakima Valley Highway
Cheyne Road – First Avenue to Yakima Valley Highway
5th Street/Roza – First Avenue to Yakima Valley Highway
Carlsonia – 5th Street to Cheyne Road
Third Avenue – 5th Street to Reo Drive
Vintage Valley Parkway to Zillah West
Fourth Avenue/Dean Street – Carlsonia to 5th Street
Schooley Road – 5th Street to Centennial Drive
Centennial Drive – Schooley Road to Alteejen
Concord Drive – Second Avenue to Third Avenue

Once the above streets have been plowed, crews will begin plowing the remaining streets according to priority.

Morning Snow Removal Notification
The city will contact property owners in the vicinity of First Avenue between 5th Street and 8th Street, giving them 8 hours advance notice (when possible), that vehicles parked on the roadway need to be removed for the purpose of street plowing.  Specific information about the time, etc. will be included in the notice.    

Off-Street Areas
Parking Lots
City-owned and managed parking lots will typically be plowed at 4 inches or more of accumulation.  Snow piles will be removed as required.

ZMC 12.08.020.  Every owner and/or occupant of any parcel of real property located within the city which is adjacent to a sidewalk shall be responsible for the removal of snow and ice which may fall or accumulate on the sidewalks immediately adjacent to or located upon such premises.  Said owner or occupant shall make a reasonable effort to have the sidewalks cleared of snow and ice by 9:00 a.m. of every day after snowfall.  In the event snow and ice accumulate so that it is not practical to remove, said owner or occupant shall provide for the dispersal of sand or other material upon said sidewalks so as to make a reasonable effort to allow the use of those sidewalks in a reasonable safe manner.

Sidewalks under City responsibility will be maintained by Zillah Public Works with high pedestrian use areas receiving highest priority.  Snow which is removed from properties needs to be piled on their own property, not on the city streets.  The city does not have resources to clear residential sidewalks and driveways.  It is possible that cars and driveways may be blocked with snow from the plow.  Please understand that this is unavoidable and the City does not have the resources to come back and remove the berm.

Advance Inspection and Maintenance.  Zillah Public Works staff prepares vehicles and equipment well in advance of the winter snow season.  Vehicle maintenance checks are done prior to equipment being used for snow removal and maintenance & repairs are made to the equipment as needed. 

The following city equipment is used for snow removal:

  • Two (2) Truck plows
  • Two (2) Backhoes
  • Two (2) Sanding Units
  • One (1) Gator with an attached plow

 The above equipment, combined with the City’s Public Works Crew, will keep the major city streets passable.  Plows will remove snow from the travel lane when snow depth and estimated accumulations indicate the need to plow.

City Contact information.
Zillah City Hall at 503 First Avenue, Zillah, WA 98953
Public Works Director, John Simmons – 509-221-8493

Vehicle Parking
Residents can help with plowing operations by parking their vehicles in their driveway or other suitable location ahead of a predicted weather event.  This will allow for quicker and more effective plowing operations.  It is possible that cars and driveways may be blocked with snow from the plow.  Please understand that this is unavoidable and the City does not have the resources to come back and remove the berm.

The Snow Removal Plan establishes general policies and procedures for the City’s response to winter weather events within available resources.  The overall goal is to make travel within the city as safe as possible and to minimize economic hardship during severe events.  Specific streets and locations are prioritized according to traffic volume, public safety, and access to emergency facilities and schools.  Our City Staff is committed to our citizens to provide the highest regard to the safety of the traveling public.  Resources are budgeted for a standard winter, however, when conditions warrant, adjustments to the fiscal year’s allocations may be made. 

Important information for residential areas.

  • Residential areas will be plowed according to priority list and intersections will be cleared.
  • Snow will be plowed as close to the curb edge as possible.
  • Driveways are the responsibility of the property/homeowner or resident.
  • Snow must never be piled on fire hydrants.
  • Snow must not be piled on private property without permission of the property owner.
  • It is possible that cars and driveways may be blocked with snow from the plow. Please understand that this is unavoidable and the City does not have the resources to come back and remove the berm.
  • Timelines are only projections. Actual time will fluctuate pending weather conditions and staffing availability.  Residents/Business owners should wait until the city crews have plowed their respective street, in order to reduce re-shoveling of their driveways.  Residents and business owners are reminded to keep the snow from private snow removal operations on their respective property.

Can’t the City remove the snow they put in my driveway, sidewalk, or in front of my mailbox?  When you consider the large number of driveways, amount of sidewalks, and total number of mailboxes in the City, it is very costly and time-consuming to use additional manpower and equipment to perform.  The City’s primary duty and responsibility is to open and keep open the main roadway system for transportation.

Why not plow all of the snow to the center of the street?  Most of Zillah's streets are not wide enough to accommodate the piling of snow in the center of the street.  Piling snow to the center of a street can create a hazardous situation.  Piling snow to the center can create restricted vision at intersections, continuous melting of the piled snow will create a wet/freezing hazard, and/or motorists may high-center their vehicle trying to cross the pile as well as the pedestrian danger of slipping or falling. 

Where do I put the snow which I removed from my property, parking lot, or sidewalk?  Put the removed snow on your own property in a location where it will not impede pedestrian travel, vision, traffic ingress/egress, or melt and cause water damage. The removal, dumping, or piling of snow on streets, alleys, or public thoroughfares, is not allowed.

Different weather conditions will require this plan to be modified as needed by Public Works personnel.  The crew will try to be flexible and respond to special conditions as much as possible.
snow map
If you have any questions about snow removal – please contact Public Works Director John Simmons @ 509-221-8493 or email at