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Winter Road Maintenance

The City of London follow the provincial standard for winter maintenance known as the Minimum Maintenance Standards (MMS). Learn more about the standards that guide our snow removal process by reading the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) listed below.

Minimum Maintenance Standards

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  • View Minimum Maintenance Standards Chart
    Class of Highway or adjacent highway Depth of Snow Time to clear Road Time to clear adjacent bike lanes Time to clear  sidewalks Time to clear bus stops
    1 Less than 5cm Complete within 4 hours after the end of a snowfall. *salting only Complete within 8 hours after the end of a snowfall.    
    2 5 cm Cleared within 6 hours after the end of a snowfall. Cleared within 12 hours after the end of a snowfall.    
    3 8 cm Cleared within 12 hours after the end of a snowfall. Cleared within 24 hours after the end of a snowfall. Cleared within 48 hours after the end of a snowfall. Cleared within 48 hours after the sidewalks are cleared.
    4 8 cm Cleared within 16 hours after the end of a snowfall. Cleared within 24 hours after the end of a snowfall. Cleared within 48 hours after the end of a snowfall. Cleared within 72 hours after the sidewalks are cleared.
    5 10 cm Cleared within 24 hours after the end of a snowfall. Cleared within 24 hours after the end of a snowfall. Cleared within 48 hours after the end of a snowfall. Cleared within one week after the sidewalks are cleared.


  • What's new in the Minimum Maintenance Standards?

    Three notable changes to the Minimum Maintenance Standards effective May 2018 include:

    1. A new sidewalk-clearing standard which states that sidewalks must be cleared to less than or equal to 8cm within 48 hours after a snow event.
    2. A new provision to treat icy sidewalks to improve traction for pedestrians within 48 hours after staff have deemed it necessary.
    3. A new standard for cycling infrastructure which means that municipalities are now responsible for clearing bike lanes; a requirement that did not previously exist.

    To learn more about the 2018 amendments, read the Civic Works Committee report.

City Service Levels

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  • What is the City of London responsible for?

    Our crew is responsible for maintaining 3,625 kms of roadway; 1,500 kms of sidewalk; 720 cul-de-sacs, pedestrian crossovers, bridges and approx. 2,000 bus stops.

  • How does the City prepare for a storm?

    The City uses anti-icing technology to prepare our streets for an upcoming snowfall in some situations. The anti-icing process is completed before a snow storm to help prevent the adhesion of snow or ice to the road. It’s important that drivers, cyclists and motorists drive slowly when anti-icing is underway as it is a sign that slippery conditions are on the horizon.

  • Which streets get plowed first and why?

    The City of London follows the provincially prescribed Minimum Maintenance Standards for Municipal Highways, O. Reg. 239/02.These standards categorize roads, including adjacent bike lanes, into five main classes. Class 1, 2 and 3 take priority. This is based on higher speed limits, the fact that these roads carry the higher volumes of vehicular traffic including bus routes, and are used by people and emergency services to get to hospitals, schools and to travel in and out of the city. Class 4 and 5, which include local streets and some cul-de-sacs, are cleared after the priority roads are complete.

    Some examples of streets in London and their designated classes are listed below.

    Class 1 – Highbury Avenue, Wellington Road, Exeter Road, Fanshawe Park Road

    Class 2 – Southdale Road, Oxford Street, Dundas Street, Wharncliffe Road

    Class 3 – Viscount Road, Dufferin Avenue, Colborne Street Cycle Track

    Class 4 – Aldersbrook Road, Doon Drive, Tweedsmuir Avenue

    Class 5 – Local streets and some cul de sacs

  • When and how are snow plows deployed?

    Crews are deployed based on the amount of snow we receive in accordance with the MMS:

    • Salt trucks with plow attachments are out on main roads after 5cm or less, cleared within 12 hours.
    • Plows out on local streets after 10cm, cleared within 24 hours.
    • Plows are out on sidewalks after 8cm, cleared within 48 hours.
    • Plows are out at bus stops after 8cm, cleared within 72 hours (or 24 hours after sidewalks).

    Clearing of bike lanes ranges from 8 to 24 hours after the snowfall ends depending on class of road. Snow plows may need to complete more than one run before the bike lanes become clear.

    For a more detailed look at the Minimum Maintenance Standards the City adheres to, view the Minimum Maintenance Standards chart linked above.

  • When are salt and sand used?

    Salt use is kept to a minimum in London. Approximately one third of the roads are salted. It is spread only on main roads starts at the beginning snowfall and throughout the snow removal process to help prevent the adhesion of snow or ice to the road.

    Sand is used after a snow fall, as required, on local streets at intersections, curves and hills to provide traction for vehicles. We typically don't sand the entire street. Sidewalks receive spot sanding once we are aware of icy and/or slippery conditions. We typically don't sand the entire sidewalk.

    If it has been 24 hours since the last snowfall and you notice a slippery road or sidewalk that needs to be treated, please report it by using the Service London portal.

  • How does the City make sure streets aren’t missed?

    London is divided into "beats.” Each beat is made up of a detailed City street list. 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.

    If we receive a long, continuous snow fall, wait times for snow clearing will increase. This is because our crews may need to complete a second round of plowing on our main roads, to stay in compliance with the MMS, interrupting planned service to local streets.

  • What can I expect on local street?

    The MMS does not define a clear street as bare pavement. The MMS allows for snow to remain on the road. For example, the MMS allows for snowpack conditions on local streets, in other words, the street will not necessarily be totally bare of snow and showing asphalt after it has been cleared.

  • How and when is snow cleared from sidewalks?

    The City of London provides a sidewalk snow removal service using mechanical equipment. Sidewalk equipment is deployed after 8cm of snow accumulation and used to achieve a snowpack condition. The equipment does not allow for clearing down to bare pavement.

    Residents are encouraged to be good neighbours and shovel the sidewalks in front of their homes. This makes it easier for all Londoners to get around on our sidewalks.

    Downtown merchants and/or property owners are required to clear the sidewalk fronting their business as per the City of London Streets By-law.

  • How and when is snow cleared from park pathways?

    The Thames Valley Parkway and park pathways throughout the city are cleared to a recreational trail standard, after an accumulation of 8cm of snow. Similar to our sidewalks, park pathways are left in a snowpack condition. Pedestrians and cyclists using these paths should use extra caution during the winter months.

  • How and when is snow cleared from bus stops?

    The City currently provides a bus stop clearing service for the London Transit Commission (LTC). Removal of snow from bus stops requires the same equipment as sidewalks so this work is done last, after the sidewalks.

Common Concerns

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  • Cul-de-sacs

    Cul-de-sacs come last in the priority route system. This is because regular plow equipment can’t always handle the amount of snow that gets built up in these areas and special plow equipment may be required to lift and remove the snow and/or to push snow to the centre of the cul-de-sac for storage.

  • Corner Lots

    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. 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.

  • Driveways

    Because street plowing operations push snow from the road to the boulevard, driveways will be filled in. It is the property owner’s responsibility to maintain access to their property. Do not place snow from your driveway or parking lot onto the road or sidewalk. It is illegal under the City of London Streets By-law. Moving snow from your laneway to the street affects road safety and the City's snow clearing operations.

    Clearing of snow and ice on private residential buildings is subject to any agreements made between the landlord and the tenant.

  • Snow Banks

    Every attempt is made to keep snow banks at corners to a minimum. Snow bank removal is not a part of our regular winter operations plan city-wide but can completed downtown and/or to accommodate additional snow storage. Special requests should be directed to a Customer Service Representative at 519-661-4570.

  • Parking

    Vehicles: Please refrain from parking on the street during a snowfall, or immediately following a snowfall. It is also important to avoid parking at the very end of a driveway or across the sidewalk/boulevard area and to respect overnight parking bans throughout the season.

    Bikes: During the winter, the maintenance of bike parking units it is the responsibility of the business or property owner.

  • Sod or Property 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 or damage to your property (e.g. a mailbox), please contact 519-661-4570 or and our staff will enter your address into our system and have it reported for repair. Repairs are made at the end of the winter season 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.

  • Snow Clearing Assistance

    If you require assistance clearing snow from your driveway or sidewalk, we encourage you to seek assistance from the Snow Angels.