Snow removal

Learn more about snow and ice operations, including how to report uncleared sidewalks, trails and roadways.

Check our service alerts page to see if a snow-related parking ban is currently in effect.

Roads

We clear roads according to Ontario's Municipal Act. We share maintenance with the City of Kitchener on border roads. We clear regional roads (PDF) on behalf of the Region of Waterloo.

Clearance is prioritized based on road classification:

Road type Time to clear
Major arterial (such as King or Columbia Street) 6 hours
Major collectors/bus routes (such as Regina Street or Bearinger Road) 12 hours
Residential streets (such as Westvale or Northlake Drive) 16 hours
Cul-de-sac/minor residential (such as Hillside Street, Beckwith Court) 24 hours

Maintenance crews begin clearing roads as soon as snow or ice reaches a level that requires removal. Clearance deadlines begin at the end of snow or ice event. For residential streets or culs-de-sac, it could be 16 to 24 hours after a snowstorm before your street is clear. 

How you can help

  • give snow plows room on the roads

  • keep cars off the street (even if a snow event is not in effect)
  • clear snow from fire hydrants on your property when possible

  • pile snow from your sidewalk on your property and not the road

  • ensure that intake and exhaust vents for your furnace are clear of snow

  • place garbage/recycling at the end of your shovelled driveway and away from the roadway

  • keep your children off the snowbanks near the road

Snow plowed from road onto your property

Snow plowed onto your driveway from the road by is called a windrow. It is your responsibility to clear the snow left by the plows on your driveway. To report a unusually large or heavy windrows, contact us at 519-886-2310. 

Damage to property from a plow

If your property was damaged by a city snow plow, contact us at 519-886-2310. Damage is documented and repaired in the spring.

cul-de-sac


Image of a cul-de-sac and the radius elbow corner showing what the snow plow cannot reachIf you live in a cul-de-sac, plows have a difficult time reaching into corner and the cul-de-sac itself. Large snowblowers are used to clear snow after plows serviced other parts of the road.

Please do not park your cars in the areas cleared by snowblowers during or after a snowfall, as it makes snow clearing more difficult.

Note that our crews sometimes load snow in the middle of cul-de-sac or parts of radius corners throughout the winter to avoid the cost of removing it from your neighbourhood.

Plows and workforce

Waterloo has over 1,050km of road to clear with 13 trucks and approximately 35 staff to assist with clearing of roads. Our drivers can only drive for a maximum of 13 hours and then are required to rest for 8 hours before they can work again. 

Watch: ride along with a plow driver in Waterloo (2:54)

Sidewalks 

In Waterloo, the responsibility for sidewalk clearance is shared. In general:

  • the city clears sidewalks not connected to a residence or business
  • property owners clear sidewalks connected to a residence or business

Use our sidewalk map to check if a specific sidewalk is our responsibility or the property owner's.

Clearance standards

Per the snow removal bylaw, property owners must clear private sidewalks within 24 hours of the end of a snow or ice storm. 

We clear city-maintained sidewalks using standards set out in the Municipal Act, which generally require clearance with 48 hours of the end of a snow or ice storm. Areas with increased mobility needs are given priority after a snow event. 

Reporting unshovelled sidewalks

If a private sidewalk is not cleared after the 24 hour period:

  • enter the address into our online reporting system to dispatch on officer (registration required)
  • contact municipal enforcement at 519-747-6280 during business hours

If a city-responsibility sidewalk is not cleared after the 48 hour period:

Sidewalk clearing assistance

If you can't clear your sidewalk due to mobility or health restrictions, contact these agencies for fees and eligibility requirements:

Trails

The following priority trails are cleared first as they connect people to major transportation networks:

  • Spurline Trail
  • Iron Horse Trail
  • Laurel Trail

Other winter-maintained trails are cleared after priority areas. Service is usually completed 48 hours after snow has stopped falling.