Snow Plowing

Snow Plowing

The City is committed to providing a high level of snow removal service throughout the winter across our City. All crews and equipment are ready for active winter service as of November 1 each year.

Our Service Area

Crews work hard to ensure that the entire 3,600 kilometre municipal road network is clear and passable within 24 hours, following the end of a winter storm. We also work to keep over 440 km of sidewalks and approximately 500 bus stops clear.

Maps of maintenance areas

Plowing soft snow

Winter temperatures can fluctuate more than 30 degrees, sometimes within days.

Warmer temperatures cause packed snow on the roads to melt, and to become soft and slushy. When vehicles drive through this soft snow, it creates irregularities on the surface of the road. These irregularities require additional plowing/sanding/salting to keep the roads safer for vehicles.

Plowing the soft, slushy snow must be completed before the colder temperatures set in and freeze it. Once the snow pack re-freezes, correcting these issues with a snowplow is limited and graders with ice blades are required to scrape the iced formations down to a smoother surface.

Bus Stop Plowing

If your bus stop has not been cleared following a winter storm please wait at a cleared area closest to your bus stop and signal the bus as it approaches.

Culs-de-sac

During or after a storm, cul-de-sac clearing is performed in two steps:

  • Step 1: a snowplow will clear the cul-de-sac to open up the roadway
  • Step 2: a 4x4 truck, or loader, equipped with a plow will clean up what a snowplow has left behind..

During the clean-up phase, remaining snow is pushed equally around the cul-de-sac to the edge of the roadway. There may be a delay between steps one and two depending on the schedule of the plow and the 4x4. Crews work hard to ensure that all roads are clear and passable within 24 hours, following the end of a winter storm.

Rutting

When temperatures cause the packed snow on a street to melt and become soft and when vehicles drive through this snow, the surface becomes irregular. When this soft snow with all the irregularities freezes again, this is called rutting.

Road Scraping

Road scraping is needed when the rutting becomes too much for a vehicle to drive over. This task is completed with a grader equipped with an ice blade. This is a slow task involving multiple passes with the grader. With each pass, the grader removes a small layer of ice. This method removes the ice as small shards to the edge of the road, and minimizes the creation of large ice chucks that require the City to pick up with a loader. When the grader does remove a large chunk of ice, a loader will be called in to remove it.

Catch Basins

Crews open up catchbasins by removing snow to eliminate ponding issues. Typically, this work begins in late winter and early spring in preparation of spring thaw and run-off. Depending on the winter conditions, when temperatures are mild, this work may be needed earlier.

You can help by clearing snow, ice and debris from your neighbourhood catch basin to provide a path for water to enter the storm drainage system. In most cases, blocked catch basins can be opened by chipping away ice buildup.

Plowing Schedule

If your street hasn’t been plowed, please wait 24 hours before calling to ask about plowing. Depending on the severity of the storm and the location of your residence, plows may not reach your street for 24 hours.

Please review the table below for average clearing times for roads, sidewalks and bus stops. Average clearing times depend on a variety of factors including:

  • severe weather conditions
  • equipment breakdowns
  • parked cars impeding road access
  • heavy traffic or accidents

Winter Storm Clean-Up Chart (37 KB)

Road Clearing Index

Type of Road or Pathway Desired Condition Activities and General Time Frame

Class 1-3 Roads:

Main arterial road or secondary collector road

Bare or near bare pavement
  • Salting/sanding when storm begins (generally 2-4 hours to complete routes in ideal conditions)
  • Snow plows are deployed when there is 5 cm of accumulation
  • We work to get class 1-3 roads to the desired condition within 3 to 8 hours after the end of a snow storm, depending on conditions.

Class 4-6 Roads

Residential or rural roads

Snow-packed and sanded surface
  • Snow plows are deployed when there is 8 cm of accumulation. Sand is applied whenever there is a need to control ice.
  • We work to get class 4-6 roads to the desired condition within 8 to 24 hours after a snow storm, depending on conditions.

Sidewalks

Snow-packed and sanded surface
  • Plow/sand resources are deployed when there is 8 cm of accumulation.
  • We try to get sidewalks to the desired condition 24 hours after the end of a storm.

Bus Stops

Snow-packed and sanded surface
  • Sidewalks must be cleared before bus stops can be cleared.
  • We try to get bus stops to the desired condition by the first night following the end of a storm with 8 cm of accumulation. 

Report Snow Plow Damage

Damage to lawns, driveways or mailboxes is most likely to occur in the early stages of winter, before operators have a clearly defined edge to guide their plows along the side of the road. Lawns are also more vulnerable to damage until the ground is frozen.

If you believe your property has been damaged as a result of municipal plowing operations, please contact the City of Greater Sudbury at 311. The City will repair your lawn or driveway in the spring.

Winter Sidewalk Maintenance 

Sidewalks can have the same challenges in the winter as roads do when temperatures fluctuate between mild and freezing temperatures. When pedestrians walk on the soft snow, it creates bumps and foot tracks on the surface. This requires additional sidewalk plowing to keep the surface of the sidewalks smooth. . Removing soft snow must be done before the colder temperatures set in and freeze the soft snow.
Cul-de-sac Plowing

On August 12, 2019, by resolution (OP2019-14) the Operation Committee passed the
Active Transportation Winter Maintenance Policy which was subsequently ratified by
Council on August 13, 2019.

Full background

Criteria for planning Sidewalk Winter Maintenance Routes

2019/2020 winter maps (4.11 MB)