Roads

All roads are grouped in classes and by type. They are listed in the Council approved Maintenance Quality Standards for Roads, Sidewalks and Pathways. These standards are used to prioritize how frequently roads are plowed, how ice is controlled and how snow is removed. High priority roads and most arterial roads are dealt with first. 

The following describes the City of Ottawa’s Council approved Maintenance Quality Standards for snow and ice control on city roads. Refer to Ontario Regulation 239/02, Minimum Maintenance Standards for Municipal Highway, for the provincial standards for Roads, Sidewalks, and Pathways.

As accumulation begins:

  • Most high priority roads should be cleared to bare pavement within 2 hours of the end of accumulation.
  • Most arterial roads should be cleared to bare pavement within 3 hours of the end of accumulation.
  • Most major collector roads should be cleared to bare pavement within 4 hours of the end of accumulation.

After 5cm of accumulation:

  • Most minor collector roads should be cleared to bare pavement within 6-16 hours of the end of accumulation.
  • Most minor collector roads should be cleared to centre bare pavement within 6-16 hours of the end of accumulation.
  • Most minor collector roads should be cleared to snow packed surface within 6-16 hours of the end of accumulation.

After 7cm of accumulation:

  • Residential roads and lanes should be cleared to snow packed surface within 10 hours of the end of accumulation.

After 10cm of accumulation:

  • Residential roads and lanes should be cleared to snow packed surface within 16 hours of the end of accumulation.

Private lanes are not plowed by City crews.

Under extreme winter storm conditions (i.e. those that exceed normal conditions), snow and ice control operations will be carried out based on the capacity of resources in as continuous a manner as practicable‎.

Snow and Ice Control on Roads

 

What to expect during a winter storm” Infographic.

Snow Clearing:

  • As accumulation begins, City crews will deploy crews to clear Hwy 174, Transitway, most arterials and most major collector roads. These roads should be clear within 2-4 hours of the end of accumulation.
  • After 5 cm of accumulation, City crews will begin clearing most minor collector roads. These roads should be clear within 6 hours of the end of accumulation.
  • After 7 cm of accumulation, City crews will begin clearing most residential roads. These roads should be clear within 10 hours of the end of accumulation.
  • City crews will plow residential roads to a snow-packed surface. When necessary, materials will be applied to keep roads safe.
  • Bus stops are cleared within 24 hours of the end of accumulation.

Winter overnight parking restrictions [S2] take effect if a snow fall of 7cm (5 – 10 cm) is forecast.

City crews use standard practices to plow the roads, streets and sidewalks:

Roads:  Routes are planned to help operators do their job effectively and efficiently. After a severe snow storm, operators may have to plow a street twice. If the City waits too long before plowing again, the road will be more difficult to navigate. Sometimes a grader or dump truck with front and wing plows will do a first pass, followed by a sand/salt truck, which clears a small amount of snow to make sanding/salting more effective.

Cul-de-sacs: Cul-de-sacs are cleaned up to ensure access for emergency vehicles, garbage and recycling trucks, Para Transpo vehicles and delivery vehicles; access to driveways; enough room to plow and sand; and reduce the effects of spring runoff. The plow opens up the area, then after a storm pushes the remaining snow to the centre or outside of the cul-de-sac, depending on the available area.

Driveway entrances: The City has tested many strategies that claim to keep snow out of driveway entrances. None have been economical or effective. Other measures the City has tried also proven to be both very expensive and very slow.

Mailbox and lawn damage: Occasionally roadside mailboxes are damaged or destroyed when hit by the snow plow. They will be repaired or replaced. However, mailboxes damaged by the snow that comes off the wing of a plow are not eligible. To report a damaged mailbox, please call 3-1-1 or report online at ServiceOttawa.ca. If City equipment damages your lawn, please call 3-1-1 or report online at ServiceOttawa.ca.  In early spring crews will investigate and repair damaged areas by using topsoil and seed. It is the residents responsibility to water until the new seed has properly rooted. 

Overnight plowing: Depending on when a storm hits, the City may have to plow overnight. This is not only a more efficient time, but also ensures that streets are clear for morning rush-hour traffic.

Ruts: In the early winter, crews take advantage of mild overnight temperatures to remove ruts that have formed on snow-packed surfaces. This helps to keep catch basins open to avoid flooding. If weather permits, we push snow banks back to curbs to provide more driving width on the roads and to create areas for storing the snow.

Windrows: Snow plowed across private approaches and/or walks and resulting from sidewalk clearing operations shall not be removed.

 

 

What to expect during a winter storm

what to expect during a winter storm