How roads are cleared
After a severe snow storm, operators may have to plow a street twice. Sometimes a grader or dump truck with front and wing plows will do a first pass, followed by a sand/salt truck, to clear a small amount of snow and make sanding/salting more effective.
To clear a cul-de-sac, operators will push the remaining snow to the centre or outside of the street, depending on the available area.
In the early winter, the City removes ruts that have formed on snow-packed surfaces. This keeps catch basis open and helps prevent flooding.
Salt and sand
The City applies dry salt, wet salt, sand salt mix, liquid brine and abrasive materials on streets. Salt is spread early during a snowstorm to make a brine solution that prevents the ice from sticking to the asphalt.
To minimize salt use, rock salt is sprayed with a liquid de-icer as it is spread. This speeds up ice melting by making the salt sticky so it can adhere to the road.
Anti-icing is used before or at the beginning of freezing rain or other winter precipitation. The de-icing solution consists of pre-wetted salt or a liquid solution. It is applied to the Transitway and Highway 174 to prevent ice from forming and bonding to the pavement.
Abrasive materials such as sand are used to increase traction in colder temperatures when salt is not effective.
Snow removal and disposal
The City aims to distribute snow on both sides of the road. Snow banks are removed or reduced in size when they begin to restrict sightlines, travel widths, and pedestrian and cycling traffic. Snow 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 weather permits, snow banks are pushed back to curbs to provide more driving width on the roads and to make space to store snow.
The City’s snow disposal facilities do not accept snow from private operators. To find private snow disposal facilities, consult the Yellow Pages, Greater Ottawa Truckers Association or Ottawa Construction Association.
Snow fences reduce the build-up of drifting snow and ice on roads, and improve visibility for motorists. The City installs wood-slat snow fences or partners with local farmers for corn or tree fences.
Plant a snow fence
The City encourages landowners who plant corn to participate in the Alternative Snow Fencing Program.
In late summer, participating landowners leave six to 12 rows of standing corn parallel to the road and 20 metres from the road’s right-of-way property line. In December, landowners are paid an amount based on the market value per tonne of the unharvested corn, the yield of tonnes per acre, the actual acres standing and for spring clean-up work
In non-agricultural areas, landowners can plant trees 20 metres from the right-of-way property line.
To find out more, please call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-2401).
If the temperature rises above zero degrees Celsius in a short period of time, flooding can occur. The City maintains drainage systems to reduce potential flooding conditions. City crews remove snow and ice from catch basins on roads and sidewalks to ensure melting snow drains when required. It is normal for water to pool around a catch basin in wet weather. Roads are designed to drain based on the sewer capacity. Roadside ditches are cleared at the outlet end of the ditch system to provide drainage for the spring melt.