Let me start off by saying this:  I'm not a fan of driving in winter.  I'll bet some of you feel the same way.  Getting stuck in a snow drift, struggling to go uphill on roads made slick by compacted snow and ice (or trying to slow down or stop while going downhill on said slick roads), the muttered (or not) swearing when you slide through an intersection you were trying to stop or turn at, the list goes on.

This isn't a list of safe winter driving tips.  There are plenty of those already.  This is about making anyone who drives in Great Falls aware of a resource they might not know about.

One winter a few years ago, I got frustrated with my usual route to and from work.  Most of the year, it's fine, but in winter, not so much.  My search for a better route led me to the City of Great Falls website, and a little poking around there brought me to this page, where I found the map of the city's snow plow routes.

The map lists which streets in Great Falls are plowed by the Montana Department of Transportation, which are the county's responsibility (mostly along the edge of town), and three, technically four, different levels of priority for the streets plowed by the city.  As explained by the main Snow & Ice Control page, the four priority levels for the city plows are:

One:  Emergency Snow Routes.  These streets are marked by signs labelling them as such, as seen above.

Two:  Major Arterials.  High traffic streets and areas around schools, hospitals, etc.

Three:  Selected Collector Streets.  Bus routes and other streets that further connect the other plowed streets.

All other streets are priority Four, and aren't normally plowed unless impassable or as manpower and equipment allows after the other three are handled.

I hope this helps someone as much as it has helped me.  Drive safely!

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