Salting and Sanding

Salting and Sanding

2023 Changes to Winter Road Maintenance Service Levels

All year round, the City of Greater Sudbury maintains more than 3,500 kilometres of municipal roads. We periodically review how our roads are maintained in winter, and how that maintenance aligns with City policy, provincial legislation and environmental best practices.

One such review was completed this summer and the findings were presented to the Operations Committee, a committee of City Council, on August 14.

Find out what's new in 2023

The City has 24/7 road inspection coverage throughout the winter months. Road supervisors monitor the state of our roads and maintain them in a safe manner that meets our winter maintenance service levels. A special focus is being paid to roads that changed maintenance class.


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.
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.

Type of Road and Application

Local road information including Class number

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

Bridge Decks

  • Anti-icing: this involves placing a thin layer of salt brine on the surface of bridge decks before a winter event is expected. This helps break the bond between snow and ice to the bridge deck and reduces slippery conditions. Anti-icing lessens how much salt is used to achieve the same effect. (image of anti-icing)

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.