- What is The City's Snow and Ice Control program?
- When there is a snow event, which roads will be cleared first?
- Are residential streets plowed?
- What does The City do to get ready for a forecasted snow event?
- How many plows and sanders will be on the roads during a snow event?
- Will echelon (tandem) plowing happen during rush hour?
- How does The City decide to apply salt or sanding chips on winter roads?
- What is the Road Conditions Map?
- If The City has over 120 plows and sanders, why are there less indicated on the Road Conditions Map during a major snowstorm?
- What is The City’s Bare pavement policy?
- Does The City install snow fencing?
- What is the Snow Route parking ban?
- How can residents prepare for a snow storm?
- How can citizens help to make roads safer in the winter?
- What are homeowners/occupants responsible for in terms of snow clearing?
- How does The City provide snow and ice control on Calgary’s sidewalks?
- What is the Snow Angels campaign?
1. What is The City's Snow and Ice Control program?
Roads has a pre-planned, measured response to snowfall that helps make roadways safe and efficient called Snow and Ice Control (SNIC).
Roads maintains public thoroughfares during winter months by:
Roads maintains road rights-of-way, Transit is responsible for clearing snow and ice at LRT stations, and Parks is responsible for the pathway system.
2. When there is a snow event, which roads will be cleared first?
Roads are cleared based on a Council-approved priority system—the more traffic there is on a roadway, the higher the priority. The highest priority roads are classified as Priority 1s, and the lowest, are Priority 4s. For more information, view the SNIC sanding plowing priorities.
3. Are residential streets plowed?
Yes. In 2011, Council voted to include residential streets in its snow clearing efforts. Under the policy, truck plows will knock down snow ruts on residential roads to 12cm, but not always to bare pavement. Graders are only used in the more severe conditions.
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4. What does The City do to get ready for a forecasted snow event?
Roads has crews (roughly 450 field operations’ staff and foremen) available 24/7 to react to a snow event. When snow is predicted, a calcium chloride anti-icing solution is applied to designated roadways around the city. This helps prevent ice and snow from accumulating on the road during a snowfall. When motorists see brown stripes on the streets, they should be aware that snow is expected, and adjust their future travel time accordingly.
5. How many plows and sanders will be on the roads during a snow event?
City forces include 26 graders, 75 tandem trucks with under body plows, 23 tandem trucks with front plows and 6 snow blowers, but how many are on the road varies from storm to storm. Depending on forecasted weather, temperatures, expected amount of snow and the time that the storm occurs, The City will respond with the appropriate amount of manpower and equipment, with the right material at the right time. During large snow events, every piece of available equipment is in use.
In 2011, The City leased 15 Epoke brand sanders for the purpose of a trial. The Epoke sanders are equipped with GPS automated spreading technology, which evenly distributes material on to the roads up to four lanes wide.
These sanders are expected to reduce the amount of material used as well as increase overall SNIC efficiency. All of the Epoke sander units have been assigned to the Northeast district for a performance comparison which will be evaluated at the end of the 2012 SNIC season.
6. Will echelon (tandem) plowing happen during rush hour?
Yes, Echelon plowing is the practice of staggered snowplows operating across all lanes of a roadway in one direction. It is the safest and most efficient snow removal method for multi-lane roads. Plowing in echelon clears all lanes at once by passing a ridge of snow from one plow to the next. If the time of the storm happens to coincide with rush hour, echelon plowing will still be used as a tactic.
7. How does The City decide to apply salt or sanding chips on winter roads?
As outlined in the Salt Management Plan, The City policy is to use the right amount of salt or sanding product in the right place and at the right time. The decision to use salt or sanding chips depends on road surface temperatures and weather conditions.
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8. What is the Road Conditions Map?
The Road Conditions Map on Calgary.ca was launched in January 2011 and quickly became the most visited page on The City’s website. It gives details about our priority routes, traffic camera locations and their images as well as snow plow and sanding truck locations. To visit the map, simply click on the above link or search “The City of Calgary: Road Conditions Map”.
9. If The City has over 120 plows and sanders, why are there less indicated on the Road Conditions Map during a major snowstorm?
While it's something we're working towards in the future, not all plows are outfitted with GPS technology. Plows displayed on the map will differ drastically from what's actually out working on the roads. Additional vehicles will show up on the map as GPS equipment is added to the fleet. Roads are being plowed and sanded, and the map will be updated even if you don't see a plow icon in your area. As well, when a plow has completed its work or is in transit (i.e. blade up, not dispensing materials) it will not show up on the map.
10. What is The City’s Bare Pavement policy?
The City’s Bare Pavement policy directs that all Priority 1 and Priority 2 streets be plowed down to the bare pavement following a major snow fall. While The City has plowed down to bare pavement on Priority 1 and 2 streets for many years, it was not officially put into our Snow and Ice Control Policy until 2011.
11. Does The City install snow fencing?
Yes. In 2010, The City installed approximately six kilometres of snow fencing in identified problem areas. Regular monitoring of these areas showed that they were very effective in preventing drifting on residential roads and back lanes. As a result, the snow fence program has been expanded to 26 kilometres for the 2012/2013 SNIC season.
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12. What is the Snow Route parking ban?
This winter, temporary parking restrictions will be in effect for 72 hours following a snow event on specific Snow Routes throughout Calgary. Snow Routes are located on priority 1 and 2 plowing routes and include most major roads and bus routes.
13. How can residents prepare for a snow storm?
We encourage motorists to pre-plan their commutes during snow events by listening to radio updates, TV news updates or visiting the Road Conditions Map to see what roads have been cleared and which ones are in progress.
14. How can citizens help to make roads safer in the winter?
The precautions outlined in these Winter Driving Tips can make any trip across town safer during the winter.
15. What are homeowners/occupants responsible for in terms of snow clearing?
For sidewalks adjacent to private property, home owners, occupants, and businesses are required to help keep sidewalks safe for pedestrians by removing snow or ice that accumulates within 24 hours after the snowfall.
16. How does The City provide snow and ice control on Calgary’s sidewalks?
Using a Council-approved priority system, City crews sand, salt and clear snow and ice from about 200 km of sidewalk.
This includes snow clearing and/or sanding of Olympic Plaza, Stephen Avenue Mall and Barclay Mall, as well as overpasses and steps. It also includes snow clearing and/or sanding of sidewalks and wheelchair ramps adjacent to major roads, collector roads, and bus routes, where sidewalks do not abut private property.
17. What is the Snow Angels campaign?
Snow Angels is a social marketing campaign initiated by The City of Calgary, Community and Neighbourhood Services Seniors Services Division and Bylaw Services to raise awareness with the citizens of Calgary of the need to remember their neighbours when shovelling snow, especially if they're older adults or if they have health concerns that prevent them from clearing their own walks. Snow Angels is NOT a snow clearing program for older adults. It is a way to encourage people to be good neighbours.
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