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Winter Road Maintenance


Frequently Asked Questions

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  • Which streets get plowed first and why?

    Streets designated as "priority" are cleared first, then crews take care of the remainder of the streets.

    The city is divided into 62 areas or "beats." Each beat is made up of a street list starting with the priority roads. Priority roads carry the higher volumes of traffic and are most easily identified as main (arterial) roads or secondary collector roads. These are the roads people use to get to business areas, hospitals and in and out of the city. Bus routes are also considered in the first round of snow removal. The "other" roads are primarily residential or secondary routes and these are systematically plowed after the "priority" routes are completed.

    Most beats are assigned one snow clearing unit, but in the case of the core area or multi-lane roads more units are provided. The multi-lane roads require two or three trucks to work in tandem to avoid leaving dangerous ridges of snow between lanes. Crews have a detailed list of streets in their "beat" to help ensure that all are cleared.

  • Why are Cul-de-sacs the last to be plowed?

    ​Cul-de-sacs are plowed during the local street plowing process. Occasionally regular plow equipment cannot handle the snow conditions and other plow equipment may be required. Heavier snow accumulations can cause delays to cul-de-sac plowing.

  • Who determines which streets get plowed first?

    ​London follows the provincially prescribed standards for winter maintenance (Minimum Maintenance Standards for Municipal Highways, O. Reg. 239/02). Roads are categorized into five main classes. Class 1, 2 and 3 or priority roads, which include arterial and some secondary collectors, take first priority. Classes 4 and 5, which include local streets and cul-de-sacs, have less priority.

     

  • When are salt and sand used?

    ​Salt use is kept to a minimum. It is spread only on main roads and occurs at the beginning of a snowfall to establish a melting point to help keep streets clear. The sand mixture used on the local streets is 90 percent sand and 10 percent salt.

    The City of London uses modern technology in the application of this material and keeps up-to-date on new developments. Salt reducing measures are implemented as appropriate to London's needs. As well, Operations staff routinely examine information on alternative de-icing and anti-icing technologies. Our goal is to be proactive in this area recognizing that the safety of city streets during slippery conditions must not be jeopardized by the use of alternative products.

    Sand is used on snow packed local streets at intersections, curves and hills. We typically don't sand the entire street.

    Sidewalks receive spot sanding during icy and slippery conditions, but the entire sidewalk is not typically sanded.

     

  • Who removes the snow from sidewalks?

    ​The City provides a sidewalk snow removal service using mechanical equipment. Sidewalks are cleared to a snow packed condition, but the equipment does not allow for clearing down to the bare pavement.

    When the amount of snow is so great that plowing is no longer effective, blower attachments are often used. This method takes longer and costs more.

    In the downtown core the merchants are required to clear the sidewalk fronting their business.

  • Why haven't the bus stops been cleared yet?

    The City provides this service for the London Transit Commission (LTC). Removal of snow from bus stops frequently requires special plow attachments so this work is done after the sidewalks are cleared.

  • Does the City remove snow on park pathways including Schools?

    The City Parks department has begun a park pathway snow clearing program in 2017. The Thames Valley Parkway and Park pathways that link neighbourhoods will be cleared to a recreational trail standard. The snow clearing will occur following a snow accumulation of over 8cm and will achieve a snow packed condition on the pathways. This will include neighbourhood pathway linkages to Schools.

     

  • Does the City come back to remove snow its plows have dumped in my driveway? ?

    Owners and/or occupants of residential and business properties are responsible for keeping driveways clear down to the street. Because street plowing operations push snow from the road to the boulevard, this does fill in driveways. Unfortunately, the City does not have the resources to come back to remove snow left by its plows at the end of driveways.

     

  • How to report sod damage?

    ​Sod damage is the result of two factors:

     

    1. The plow operator may have difficulty finding the sidewalk or the edge of the road under a blanket of snow, or
    2. if the ground is not frozen.

    Once a path is cleared, subsequent trips by the sidewalk plow are made easier. If the sod was damaged during the first pass of the season then the damage may not be discovered until the snow melts.

    To report sod damage to your property, please contact 519-661-4570 or es@london.ca and our staff will enter your address into our system and have it reported for repair.  Repairs are made after the snow season/plowing has ended, starting in May when the spring/summer seasonal work force arrives.  Depending on the amount of damaged sod, repairs can extend through the spring and into the early/late summer.  It is entirely up to the homeowner if they want to complete their own repairs; this is at the cost and discretion of the homeowner. 

    If you have any questions regarding this process please contact us at 519-661-4570.

     

  • Is it okay to push snow onto the roadway or to the boulevard area across the street?

    Under the Highway Traffic Act and the City of London Streets By-law, placing snow or ice on a roadway is prohibited.

     

  • What if I am unable to clear the snow from my property because of age or disability?

    ​Unfortunately, snow removal services for seniors and individuals with disabilities are not available from City crews. You may be able to get assistance from a family member, a friend or a neighbour. Many local community groups and churches have volunteers who will lend a helping hand. There are also a number of private snow clearing firms who provide this service. Check the Yellow Pages for listings.

  • The snow bank at the corner is too high and I cannot see oncoming traffic. What can be done?

    Every attempt is made to keep snow banks at corners to a minimum. Special concerns should be directed to a Customer Service Representative at 519-661-4570.

  • My mailbox has been damaged by the plow. What can be done?

    Call 519-661-4570 if you need help repairing it.

  • Fun Facts: Did you know...?
    • The City uses a special concoction of salt brine and Geomelt to prevent ice forming on roads. This environmentally-friendly anti-ice formula contains desugared sugar beet molasses. By using it, we dramatically cut down on the use of salt on roadways.
       
    • On average, London receives just over 210 centimetres (7 feet) of snow each winter. A major snowfall can produce an accumulation of 30 centimetres (12 inches) of snow.
       
    • The City is responsible for clearing over 3500 lane kilometres of roadway with 62 plows and 23 sander/salters.

    • The City is responsible for clearing 1300 kilometres of sidewalk with 33 sidewalk plows.

    • The City of London has two traffic cameras in operation and two road temperature sensors. One is located at the Oxford Street west bridge extension and the other is on the Commissioners/Highbury bridge. The road sensors provide a road forecast which can be different than the typical air temperature forecasts that are reported. In the fall the road can be warmer than the air and in the spring it is the opposite. Road temperature is another tool used when deciding when to salt the road.
       
    • The City clears 2100 bus stops for the London Transit Commission. Clearing bus stops requires special plow attachments, so we can only do this after the sidewalks have been cleared.

     

  • What can I do to help?
    • Be patient. In heavy snowfalls it takes us longer to get all our streets cleared.
    • Be a good neighbour. Help those who may not be able to shovel their driveways and sidewalks.
    • Don't park on the street during a snowfall - or immediately following a snowfall if plowing is still needed. Also, please do not park your vehicle at the very end of a driveway or across the sidewalk/boulevard area. Plow operators are not able to do their job properly if there are parked vehicles in the way.
    • Clear snow and ice from your driveway. Please do this right to the street, that is, across the boulevard area adjacent to your property. The City also recommends that you sand or salt your driveway, particularly if there is a chance it might be used by others say, to avoid walking on an icy patch of sidewalk or to cross the street to reach a bus stop or mail box.
    • Keep driveways clear of any shoulder snow accumulations from street or sidewalk plowing.
    • Don't place snow from sidewalks or driveways on the street. Because it creates a hazard for vehicles, the Highway Traffic Act and the City of London Streets By-law prohibit the placing of snow or ice on a roadway. Anyone having questions or concerns, or wishing to report a problem, should call our Public Service Line at 519-661-4570.
  • Where is my plow?

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  • The plow came by. Why is there still snow on my street or sidewalk?

    A cleared street is one where the plow has been through once, regardless of whether there is a 'snowpack' left on the street. In other words, the street will not necessarily be totally bare of snow and showing asphalt.

    If a plow has been down your street, you will see 'wind row' - otherwise known as snowbanks.

    Sidewalk plows, because of the way they operate, will often leave sidewalks with a layer of 'snowpack'.

  • I live on a corner lot. Why does the plow put so much snow in my driveway?

    Residents living on corner lots or the first on the right of an intersection usually get more snow deposited in their driveways. When the snowplow turns right it sweeps a much larger area of the road than when it is traveling in a straight line, as well, the snow also does not discharge from the plow truck. Turning right effectively makes the plow push most of the snow ahead instead of moving it from the centre of the road to the side. The first property and driveway encountered after the plow straightens out usually gets more snow than others in the immediate area.