City of Toronto

Keeping roads and sidewalks clear in winter

When the snow begins to fall, drivers and cyclists want to have roads cleared quickly and efficiently to allow for the movement of traffic. Pedestrians need sidewalks to be cleared in order to walk safely.

The City takes action even before the snow begins to fly. Transportation Services sends out its fleet of salt trucks to the expressways and main roads. Local roads and laneways are salted after the main roads are completed. When two centimetres of snow have accumulated, then plowing will begin on the expressways. When five centimetres have accumulated, plowing will begin on the main roads. Plowing on the expressways and main roads will continue until the operation is complete.

When the snow stops and if the snow accumulation reaches eight centimetres, local road plowing begins. Plowing on local roads is usually completed from 14-16 hours after the snow stops falling.

The City will also open driveway windrows wherever it is mechanically possible to do so. Typically, driveway windrows are opened one to two hours after the road is plowed.

The City will clear snow from sidewalks on local roads where it is mechanically possible to do so after eight centimetres (five centimetres in January and February) of snow has fallen. In the central core of the city, property owners are required to clear their sidewalks of snow 12 hours after a storm has taken place.

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