NH Law About... Snow Removal

Introduction to... Snow Removal

Updated December 18, 2017.

This guide discusses snow removal from roads and sidewalks. As you can see from the sources listed below, researching this issue may involve local ordinances, state statutes, case law, and agency policies. 

Periodically we see articles in NH newspapers about whether or not property owners are responsible for clearing snow from sidewalks abutting their property. Those articles often refer to a case which is over 100 years old: State v. Jackman, 69 N.H. 318 (1898). It's hard to find cases this old online so we've scanned the opinion and included a link to it below.

Please remember that this guide is for information purposes only and is not comprehensive. It is intended as a starting point for research, to illustrate the various sources of the law, and to provide guidance in their use. NH Law About ... is not a substitute for the services of an attorney.

Read about... Snow Removal


New Hampshire Local Government Center. New Hampshire Town and City. "Winter Maintenance of Roads and Sidewalks." Vol. LII, no. 10 (November/December 2009)

Link verified on: December 18, 2017

As winter approaches, it is time once again for towns and cities to review their policies regarding plowing, salting and sanding of municipal roads and sidewalks. While every town and city has a good deal of experience with these duties, the specific responsibilities and limitations placed on New Hampshire municipalities by state and federal law continue to evolve.   GO>

New Hampshire. Dept. of Transportation. Winter Maintenance

Link verified on: December 18, 2017

"It is impractical to develop specific rules on winter maintenance operations due to the numerous variables involved in winter storms. The judgment of the local highway patrol foreman governs the type, quantities and application schedule of materials used to control snow and ice. It is the intent of the NHDOT to use the minimum deicing or anti-icing material needed to restore safe travel conditions as soon as practical following termination of winter storms."   GO>

U.S. Dept. of Transportation. FHWA. Guide for Maintaining Pedestrian Facilities for Enhanced Safety Research Report, 2013

Link verified on: December 18, 2017

Laws and municipal ordinances play an important role establishing who is responsible for pedestrian facility maintenance. In determining which entity is responsible by law for the maintenance, it is necessary to review state statutes and often state case law to determine legal precedent in cases of civil liability. In most circumstances, liability in regards to pedestrian facility maintenance revolves around trip-and-fall and slip-and-fall cases on sidewalks. If a pedestrian trips on a cracked or uneven sidewalk or slips on an icy sidewalk in winter, sustains injuries and/or damages and seeks monetary compensation, who is found at fault and why?   GO>

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Read the law about... Snow Removal


RSA 230. State Highways   GO>

Link verified on: December 18, 2017

RSA 231. Cities, Towns and Village District Highways  GO>

Link verified on: December 18, 2017

RSA 236. Highway Regulation, Protection and Control Regulations  GO>

Link verified on: December 18, 2017

RSA 507-B:2-b. Snow, Ice, and Other Weather Hazards  GO>

Link verified on: December 18, 2017

Find it in a Library ... New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated

Link verified on: June 29, 2018

Find the New Hampshire statutes in print at libraries throughout the state.   GO>

Learn About New Hampshire Statutes: New Hampshire statutes are the laws of the State of New Hampshire as enacted by the New Hampshire General Court. GO>


2007-0618. Tinker v. Town of Tilton

Link verified on: December 18, 2017

The plaintiff brought an action seeking injunctive relief that would require the Town to make the section of sidewalk at issue accessible to persons with disabilities by removing snow from it during the winter months.   GO>

2009-0012. Tinker v. Commissioner Dept. Of Transportation

Link verified on: December 18, 2017

[T]o the extent a sidewalk is deemed part of a “facility” that is “required to be readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities” under the ADA, the maintenance obligations of the public entity having control over the sidewalk include the reasonable removal of snow, ice or debris rendering the sidewalk inaccessible. Because, as noted above, the town concedes that 28 C.F.R. § 35.133 applies to the sidewalk at issue, the trial court did not err by concluding that the town’s maintenance obligations relative to it include the removal of snow, ice and debris. ... The refusal to remove any snow is not a reasonable limit upon the removal of snow, but is an abdication by the town of its obligation altogether.   GO>


69 N.H. 318. State v. Jackman   GO>

Link verified on: December 18, 2017

126 N.H. 286 (1985). Ritzman v. Kashulines

Link verified on: December 18, 2017

On January 17, 1982, Jane L. Ritzman slipped and fell on a natural accumulation of snow on the shoulder of Main Street in Hopkinton. Mrs. Ritzman fell while walking toward the sidewalk in front of the defendants' store, The Cracker Barrel. The area where she fell is used for parking by customers of the store and has been periodically plowed by the defendants. Mrs. Ritzman and her husband filed suit against the defendants, alleging that the defendants had a duty to maintain the parking area in a reasonably safe condition and that Mrs. Ritzman's injury was proximately caused by a breach of this duty. The Superior Court (O'Neil, J.) dismissed the suit in response to a summary judgment motion of the defendants.   GO>

120 N.H. 788 (1980). Rutkauskas v. Hodgins

Link verified on: December 18, 2017

The principal issue in this case is whether the owner of a building which redirects precipitation, thereby causing an accumulation of snow and ice on a public sidewalk immediately adjacent to the building, is strictly liable to a tenant who is injured by falling on the snow-covered sidewalk. We hold that there is no such liability.   GO>

Find it in a Library ... New Hampshire Reports

Link verified on: May 18, 2018

Find the New Hampshire Reports in libraries throughout the state.   GO>

Learn About New Hampshire Cases: New Hampshire case law consists of the published opinions of the New Hampshire Supreme Court. GO>


Bradford, N.H. SOP Snow Removal and Ice Control EFF: 12.01.09  GO>

Link verified on: December 18, 2017

Bradford, N.H. Parking on Public Ways During Snow Storms  GO>

Link verified on: December 18, 2017

Concord, N.H. Winter Operations  GO>

Link verified on: December 18, 2017


Concord Historical Society. Captain Jackman's Snow Job  GO>

Link verified on: December 18, 2017

New Hampshire Law Library

Link verified on: June 29, 2018

The state's only public law library. Call, email, or visit, we'll be happy to help.   GO>

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