City crews use standard practices to plow the roads, streets and sidewalks:
- Roads: Every effort is made to distribute snow on both sides of the road. However, the first pass with the plow picks up more snow than the second pass, resulting in more snow on one side. Routes are planned to help operators do their job effectively and efficiently. After a huge 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.
- Snow banks: Snow banks are removed or reduced in size when they begin to restrict sightlines, travel widths, and pedestrian and cycling traffic; to relieve trapped water on the road or sidewalk; and to create storage space for future snowfalls. Banks that restrict sightlines at intersections and at pedestrian, school and railway crossings are removed within 24 hours after crews are made aware of the situation. If the number of locations exceeds available resources, they will be addressed on a priority basis. When dealing with snow banks, crews push back, blow or place the snow within boulevards, which are part of the city's road allowance. This is the most economical method, while snow removal and haulage is costly and time-consuming.
- 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 we have tried have 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. Crews will come out early in the spring to investigate and repair damaged areas by using topsoil and seed. It is up to residents 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.
Residents are not to place snow onto the road. A by-law is in place to discourage people from doing so. Please call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-2401) and By-law Services will be advised.
Find out more about snow disposal facilities.
To learn more about snow plowing you can watch this video.