Skip navigation
Social Media
Facebook
Facebook
Email IconTranslate

Snow-Clearing Priorities

A man beside a snowplow

All roads are classified by the provincial government according to various factors, including traffic volume and speed limits. Using guidelines set out in the Province's Municipal Act, all roads in the city are categorized based on their intended use and the city must achieve standards that are consistent across the Province. The priorities identified by these guidelines are, in this order, major arterial roads, major collector roads, bus routes and then local residential roads. During a snow or ice storm, road crews will keep priority roads as clear as possible to ensure the safety of drivers and allow for emergency vehicles to respond quickly and safely. Often times, it is not possible to reach residential roads until after a snow or ice storm event has ended. While there are a number of factors including temperature, forecasts and precipitation that determine how and when plowing, salting or sanding takes place, the following chart provides a general outline as to when snow plowing occurs and the minimum time standard for clearing each type of roadway after a snow event ends.

Minimum depth of snow before snow clearing beginsType of roadLength of time after a snow event ends to clear snowSample road type and view after a snow clearing completed  
5 cmMajor arterial road such as Columbia Street or King StreetSix hours (snow clearing does not include the section of street intended for parking)Major arterial road after snow clearing
8 cmMajor collector roads/bus routes such as Regina Street, Bearinger Road and Keats Way 12 hoursMajor collector road and bus route after a snow clearing.
8 cmLocal residential streets such as Sandowne, Westvale and Northlake16 hours (In line with the provincial guidelines, residential roads are cleared to provide a minimum total width of five metres for driving. Roads do not need to be cleared to the curb in order to be safe for driving.)Residential street after a snow clearing with a 5-metre wide area cleared for driving
10 cmLocal cul-de-sacs and minor road routes such as Hillside Street, Mohawk Avenue, Douglas Street, Kingsley Crescent24 hours (In line with the provincial guidelines, residential roads are cleared to provide a minimum total width of five metres for driving. Roads do not need to be cleared to the curb in order to be safe for driving.)Cul-de-sac after snow clearing with 5 metres cleared for driving

 

Residential streets

We plow residential streets after higher priority roads have been cleared. Each residential zone in the city is divided into three sub-sections, which receive priority on a rotating basis to ensure fairness in service delivery times (i.e., if Zone A was plowed first during a previous snowfall, Zone B would be first the next time, and so on).

Sidewalks

While roadways don't necessarily need to be cleared to the bare pavement in order to provide a safe driving route, for safety and accessibility, sidewalks must be cleared to the bare pavement. Sidewalks must be cleared within 24 hours of the end of a snow event.

Questions

To enquire about winter road maintenance, please contact our Service Centre at (519) 886-2310 (7 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday) or notify us on Twitter @citywaterloo.

For additional assistance outside of normal business hours, please call (519) 886-2310 and follow the prompts dependent upon your concerns.