I described the process in more detail in my 2012 post, "Snow removal on Kent." In summary, some very deft sidewalk plow operators push the snow from around various obstacles on the sidewalk into the road. Then graders like this one go by to arrange this snow into a straight row on the roadway:
Then, of course, the big snow blower machine comes by to whisk the snow (and ice!) all away with ease, while a lineup of trucks follow in wait of their turn to collect the snow from the blower:
I took a video of the blower going by. Watch it in stunning HD:
As described at a briefing last week at the City's Transportation Committee, snow removal (that is, physically removing it from the road and taking it someplace else, as opposed to snow clearing, which is just pushing it aside) makes up the biggest part of the City's winter maintenance budget. Of the $11.8M spent to clean up after the December 20 storm, most ($7.2M) was spent on snow removal. By contrast, $873,000 was spent on sidewalk clearing during and after that storm, which amounts to about a dollar per person for that one storm.