Designated Snow Routes

When a snow or ice event hits Columbia, snow plows must treat and plow the equivalent lane miles of the distance from Columbia to Miami.  It is our goal that all streets in Columbia are passable by a front-wheel drive vehicle as soon as possible. 

The City of Columbia has more than 1,350 lane miles of streets, including 1,100 cul-de-sacs, maintained by Public Works. The sheer volume of cul-de-sacs and lane miles makes it necessary to prioritize roads during ice and snow events.         

There are 470 lane miles of designated snow routes, or priority routes, in Columbia. These priority routes create a network of major roads and residential streets extending throughout the city. The primary purpose of these high-volume roads is to ensure safe passageway to highways, hospitals, schools, fire stations and commercial areas.  

Every event is not exactly the same, but generally speaking a typical response occurs in phases:          

  • Treat bridges, curves, hills and intersections as needed.
  • Clear priority routes to “near normal” condition.
  • Ensure all other City streets are “passable” by a front-wheel-drive vehicle to facilitate access to priority routes.
  • Respond to any reports received by the City Contact Center concerning passable roads.          

Priority routes are plowed and treated 24 hours per day as needed during a winter weather event; other routes are plowed and treated to a passable condition during normal business hours. When snow reaches 4 inches, all of the City’s 1,350 lane miles are plowed and treated to a passable condition 24/7 once priority routes are near normal.  

There is no parking allowed on priority routes when snow accumulates 2 inches or more. Parking Utility staff do their best to warn drivers, but vehicles will be ticketed and towed at the owner’s expense if they are not moved. To be reminded of when it’s time to move cars off of priority routes, sign up for alerts at or by texting the phrase COLUMBIAPW to 888-777.

 Street or Area Description Examples
First Priority Streets Major residential and arterial streets for public safety needs e.g., Broadway, Green Meadows Road, Vandiver Drive
Second Priority Streets Heavily traveled collector and residential streets for
Public Safety and City/school bus routes
as well as streets connecting to schools,
hospitals and other critical areas
e.g., Derby Ridge Drive, Fairview, Parkade
Optimization Routes
This year some new optimization routes are being piloted to facilitate vehicle access to first/second priority routes as well as residential neighborhoods.  e.g., Steeple Chase, Dunbar, Keystone
Priority Areas  Downtown Streets & Priority Neighborhoods

North Map
South Map
Priority neighborhood map

State Response:
MoDOT Routes

Major roads in and around Columbia that are plowed and treated by the Missouri Department of Transportation 

e.g. Highway 63, I-70, Hwy 163, Route B, Broadway, Business Loop 70, College Ave., Rangeline St., Stadium Blvd.

Interactive Online Map opens in a new window 

Street Viewer Map opens in a new window

How to Use the Interactive Online Map: Click on the interactive map. Click on the layers icon in the top right-hand corner. Check the box that says “Snow_ Routes_Areas.” 

Online Map Key: 

  • Red = 1st Priority
  • Blue = 2nd Priority 
  • Purple = 3rd Priority
  • Green = MoDOT
  • Diagonal lines = priority neighborhoods and areas

Poster of Priority Routes  – Large File (pdf) – Oct. 26, 2018

Ward Maps: Printable Maps of Priority Streets (pdf) for 2017 – 2018


 Call: 573.874.2489   /   Email: