Snow Removal

Snow Removal and Storm Strategy

The Town of Norwell Highway Department plows and maintains all roads, drives, town-owned facilities, schools and parking areas.

In an effort to make the snow season as safe as possible, we offer the following tips and information. Please remember that each storm is different so our strategy must be adjusted accordingly to achieve the best results.

The Highway Department staff is well trained and dedicated to plow around the clock if necessary, to keep the roadways open and passable. If a plow truck is riding with its plow up, please do not be misled. They may be returning to the garage for fuel or repairs or might be headed to another section of town to assist with snow removal. 

Residents should not be concerned if they do not see their roadway plowed during the early stages of a snowstorm. The Highway Department pre-prioritized with assigned routes to plow main roads and hills first. Please be patient, all town-owned roads will eventually be plowed.

Please be advised that Washington St (Route 53) is maintained by Mass Highway Department District 5, and is not plowed by the Town of Norwell: See State Roads


Snow Removal Regulations


When snow warnings are issued, residents of the Town of Norwell are requested to keep their cars off all streets to avoid damage to their vehicles and to expedite the plowing and sanding operations. According to the Town By-Laws:

Article X, Section 11:

"The Highway Surveyor may for the purpose of removing or plowing snow, or removing ice, from any public way, remove or cause to be removed, to some convenient place, including any public garage any vehicle which interferes with the removal or plowing of such snow, or the removal of such ice. In the event that such vehicles so removed, the owner of such vehicle shall be liable for the cost of such removal for the storage charges, if any, resulting therefrom, but shall not, notwithstanding any other provisions of these By-Laws, be otherwise liable to any fine, penalty or other charge solely by reason of the fact that such vehicle was interfering with such plowing or removal."

Article X, Section 12:

"No person shall pipe or otherwise deposit in or upon any public street or public place, any water or other substances which may freeze and thereby create a hazardous condition."

Article I, Section 9:

"Every violation of the Norwell By-Laws, not otherwise provided for herein or by the General Laws or Special Laws of the Commonwealth, shall be punished by a fine of not more than one hundred and fifty ($150.00) dollars, and all penalties recovered from such violations shall be paid into the Town Treasury to accrue for such use as the Town shall from time to time direct."

The Town is NOT responsible for damaged lawns, fences, steps, shrubs, trees, sprinklerheads, or mailboxes etc., that are within the street layout.

To report unplowed streets during a snowstorm, call the Highway Office directly Monday & Tuesday, 8:00 a.m.-4:15 p.m., Wednesday 8:00 a.m.-7:30 p.m., Thursday 8:00 am- 4:00 pm, & Friday 8:00 a.m.-12:00 noon, at 659-8042, or the Highway Garage 659-7094.
The Recycling Center will be closed during and after snow & ice operations until the facility has been deemed safe by the Highway Surveyor or his designee.

Sand may be obtained by Norwell Residents at the Highway Garage, for emergency use ONLY, at 310 Main Street.

Contractors plowing while employed by the Town, cannot be hired or requested to clear private driveways or walks; in any emergency situation the Highway Surveyor and/or Board of Selectmen have the authority to use their discretion regarding this matter.
Private driveways and/or common driveways that were named only for location purposes, will not be plowed by the Town. The following list of private roadways will be plowed only after all public ways and buildings have been plowed; Paradise Drive to standpipe, and Hoop Pole Lane.

It is the Town's policy to remove snow and/or ice as quickly and efficiently as possible from both the main roads and the "secondary" residential roads. When possible, the Town uses salt, sand, and liquids de-icers for snow/ice removal. In the event of larger snowfalls, the Town then resorts to plowing utilizing town forces and its Contractors. The Towns goal is to provide safe roads for lts residents and the traveling public.

According to the provisions set forth at the Annual Town Meeting, April 30, 1991, by the Towns' people and the Highway Surveyor, subdivisions and dead-end subdivisions that are public ways will be sanded with a reduced salt to sand mixture. Caution should be applied in the "No Salt Zones" within the Town of Norwell. 

Residents can assist the Highway Department during a snow storm by heeding these suggestions:

  1. Reduce your speed and drive cautiously
  2. Remain off the road during snow storms unless absolutely necessary
  3. Do not plow, blow, or deposit snow back into the road
  4. Do not allow children to make "snow forts" at the edge of the roads/sidewalks
  5. Do not get over confident in your 4x4 vehicle. Remember that if you are driving a four wheel drive vehicle, the vehicle may help you get going quicker but, it won't help you stop any quicker.

Glenn Ferguson
Norwell Highway Surveyor

Winter Parking Ban

Norwell Mass Snow PolicyDuring snow removal operations, there is a standing winter parking ban in Norwell.

  • On-street parking is prohibited overnight.
  • Vehicles that are illegally parked will be ticketed.

Sand and Salt Available Free to Residents

Sand Salt Bin

A mixture of sand and salt is available FREE to residents 24 hours a day during the winter season (no contractors) outside the gates at the Highway Department Yard Salt Shed, 310 Main Street. 

See more about the recently built  Salt Shed.


Before a Snowstorm Begins

The Norwell Highway Department proactively treats all roads with deicing chemicals to prevent snow and ice from bonding to the surface and to keep traffic flowing. The initial treating the roads takes approximately 1 to 2 hours. During certain storms, such as Ice Storms, multiple deicing applications may be continue throughout the event.

Please remember that our crews must travel safely on snow-covered, slippery untreated roads to  work at any hour of the day or night. Please be patient as the road treatment crews will be out as soon as possible to begin snow removal operations.

During The Storm

Plowing operations begin when there is an accumulation of snow on road surfaces.

Depending upon the severity of the storm, Town forces are assisted by hired contractors to expedite the process of snow removal. Each vehicle is assigned to a predetermined route and will remain on that route until the storm subsides, unless an emergency occurs that requires reassignment of equipment from one location to another.

The main objective is to keep all roads passable during the storm. Unfortunately, it is not possible to keep the roads free of snow without filling in many driveways; therefore, when you clean the end of your driveway, deposit the excess snow to the downstream side of your driveway. This will minimize the redeposit of snow into the cleared opening when the plow makes its next pass. Do not be surprised to see us plowing with very little snow. It is less expensive to plow than to apply chemicals to melt all the snow.

  • Please do not shovel, plow or blow snow or ice into the roadway.

    You could be liable or fined if you create a hazardous condition in the roadway (as shown in photo).

  • If you have a private contractor plowing your driveway please make sure to remind them of curbing, asphalt, drip berms and guardrail fences, as you will be held responsible for any damage from their actions. 

Following The Storm

After plowing is completed, roads are given a final treatment of deicing chemical. In the days following a storm, scraping and treating of roads continues depending upon weather forecasts. If more snow is expected again that night, flat or minor streets may not be treated right away. 

If colder weather is in the forecast, streets are scraped of snow and slush to prevent icing of the surface when the temperature drops. Also, immediately following a storm, our crews will again widen the road edge so a to facilitate proper drainage as melting occurs with rising temperatures. See more about Drainage projects

As time allows, snow is removed from intersections and some areas of the center of Town to improve parking and drivers' visibility.

Fire Hydrants

Fire hydrants are under the control of the Norwell Water Department. The Water Department asks residents with hydrants in front of or near their property to please clear the snow away from the area so that in an emergency the hydrant will be accessible.

Questions regarding snow removal near hydrants should be directed to the Norwell Water Department at 781-659-8076.

Town Right-of-Way

Property owners should be aware that in most instances they do not own the land up to the edge of road pavement or sidewalk. The Town generally owns the land from the edge of roadway up to 15 feet back depending on the particular road.

There may be underground utilities within these areas and homeowners should be careful as to what they place in these areas.

  • Mailboxes, trees, shrubbery, fences, lawn sprinkler systems or gardens within the right-of-way may be damaged during snow removal operations.
  • The Town will not be responsible for damage to such items within the right-of-way.

Recycling and Trash Containers

Please ensure that the curbside pickup of recyclables or trash containers are not in or at the edge of roadway as this interferes with snow removal efforts.

Materials placed on top of snowbanks can present a safety hazard for collection personnel, and can result in damage to containers by snowplows. It’s a safety hazard for collection crews to retrieve items and lift them down off the snowbank. And items cannot be removed at all if they are frozen in the snow.

It’s not safe to have our snowplow operators maneuver around containers set out onto the road. Containers can be blown over or struck by snowplows, resulting in accumulation of litter beneath the snow.  

Here are some more winter collection tips:

  • Clear out a place for your containers when you shovel snow.
  • If a storm is occurring during overnight hours, wait until morning to place your material at the curbside.


Sidewalk Snow Policy

Sidewalks on Private Property
It is the responsibility of the owner to clear snow from sidewalks on their property. This ensures the safety and convenience of pedestrians or customers, so that they will not be forced to walk in the narrow, plowed street where drivers may experience less control over their vehicles. 

Snowblowers should direct the chute away from the roadways and storm drains to keep them clear once they have been plowed. See also During The Storm.

In 2015, it became a rule of law that all Massachusetts property owners can be held legally responsible for failing to remove snow and ice from their property.

Public Sidewalks
Due to limited resources, the Norwell Highway Division maintains sidewalks in the town center, town-owned facilities and schools, and in the following areas.

Main St, South St, Grove St, High St, Forest St and Washington St. 

Sidewalks of cul de sacs, pathways or trailways are not plowed by the Town of Norwell. 
See also Sidewalks under Highway Division

Spring Repairs

Sometimes the grass strips along the roads are damaged while plowing. The Norwell Highway Department works to repair these areas as soon as possible. It may take until mid-summer to repair these areas. The repair of grass surfaces generally consists of raking out the ruts and seeding with a standard highway grass seed.

If your landscaping needs are such that this is unacceptable, you may choose to repair these areas on your own earlier in the spring.