Salting and Sanding

Salting and Sanding

To keep our roads safe in the winter months, the City uses both sand and salt (sodium chloride) to help make winter travel safe for motorists and pedestrians throughout the City. What we use to keep the roads from being slippery depends on the temperature and the type of road.

Temperature and Type of Application

Temperature Type of Application
Zero to minus 12 degrees Celsius Road salt in the form of brine (salt/water solution) or rock salt is typically applied to achieve bare pavement conditions.
Colder than minus 12 degrees Celsius Sand is applied when temperatures are too cold for salt to be effective.

Type of Road and Application

Type of Road Type of Application

Class 1-3: Main Arterial or Secondary Collector Routes

  • Salt and sand use.
  • Winter Storm/Freezing Rain Event: Salt applied before or at beginning of storm to prevent ice from forming and bonding to pavement in accordance with Minimum Maintenance Standards and City’s winter road maintenance policy.
  • Sand may be used depending on conditions.

Class 4-6: Rural and Residential Roads

  • Sand only

Impact of Road Salt on the Environment

The City's use of road salt is relatively low when compared to other jurisdictions in Ontario. The graph below shows the City uses about three times more sand than salt each year:

Citywide Total Salt and Sand Usage

The City mitigates the impact of road salt on the environment by minimizing its use of salt while still maintaining safe roads for motorists and pedestrians. This has been done through many efforts such as:

  • Periodic review of industry best practices;
  • Continuous education and training of City and Contract personnel;
  • Periodic updating of the City's Salt Management Plan;
  • Optimizing responses to winter weather events;
  • Reducing the number of roads that received salt in accordance with the City's winter maintenance policy;
  • Improving salt application equipment; and
  • Increasing public awareness of how road salt is used in the City.