Winter Control Standards
The City's main objective during a storm is to keep the primary roads clear for emergency services and to maintain safe, passable school bus routes. Only after these roads are deemed to be clear, are plowing and sanding operations commenced on secondary roads. Laneways are cleared when primary and secondary roads are completed.
The following provides information of the City's winter control service levels, classification of primary and secondary roads and laneways as well as FAQ's.
City of Port Colborne
Public Works Division
Winter Control Service Levels
Classification of Roads
The City of Port Colborne maintains all roads based on a priority system. Roads are classified into Primary Roads, Secondary Roads, and Laneways.
The City's main objective during a storm is to keep the Primary Roads clear for emergency services and to maintain safe, passable school bus routes. Only after these roads are deemed to be clear, are plowing and sanding operations commenced on Secondary Roads. Laneways are cleared when Primary and Secondary Roads are completed.
It is the goal of the Public Works Division to plow all Primary and Secondary Roads in less than twenty-four (24) hours from the end of a snowfall.
What is a Primary Road?
For the purposes of winter control, a Primary Road is an arterial road upon which a higher volume of traffic travels on and provides access to most residential secondary roads.
What is a Secondary Road?
A Secondary Road is any other road not designated as a Primary Road and not a Laneway. These roads carry a low volume of traffic in both urban and rural areas of the City.
What is a Laneway?
A Laneway is a designated municipal rear access laneway.
Goal Conditions - Center Bare Pavement
Surfaces will be maintained to a center bare condition (center six to eight feet) where possible through the effective use of all staff, equipment and materials suited to the conditions.
The maximum allowable snow accumulation is approximately 7.5 cm.
As long as conditions persist, Primary Roads will be plowed every four (4) hours, based on average snowfalls.
Goal Conditions - Snow Packed Surface
The maximum allowable fresh snow accumulation is 15 cm.
As long as conditions persist, Secondary Roads will be plowed every six (6) hours, based on average snowfalls.
Surfaces shall be maintained in a snow packed conditions.
Complete sanding of all streets and roads shall be carried out only to address extremely slippery conditions, freezing rain or general icy conditions not controllable by other means.
Public Works will respond to requests from the Niagara Regional Police Services to sand or salt road sections which they have identified as a hazard.
Predetermined routes for sanding shall be followed except in critical situations.
During continuing storms, priority for service will continue to be based on higher class of road receiving service before any lower class of road or laneway.
It is acknowledged that in the event of mechanical breakdowns, accidents or other operational problems, objectives set forth may not be met.
The City of Port Colborne has 279 km of roadway (110 km urban, 169 km rural) or 520 lane km.
For the purposes of snow plowing, the municipality is divided into eight (8) plowing routes with a snow clearing vehicle assigned to each route. Total lane km in each route varies from 33 km to 97 km.
Each route takes approximately six to eight hours to complete, depending on weather, traffic, available staff & equipment and number of vehicles parked on the street. Each route must have the primary roads within that route plowed first before the secondary roads are begun.
Frequently asked questions
What happens when snow is forecast?
The Public Works Yard receives daily weather reports and monitors changing weather conditions. Municipal roads are patrolled seven days a week.
How can I help during a snow storm?
Our snow plow crews can gain more ground when there are less vehicles on the road. You can help by staying off the streets until conditions improve and by keeping vehicles parked in your driveway. Blowing or shoveling snow onto roadways is an offence under the Highway Traffic Act so keeping it on the boulevard or your property makes for safer driving and keeps streets as passable as possible.
I have to get to work and my street isn't plowed yet. What should I do?
Most snow storms are forecasted ahead of time, so allow yourself plenty of time to get there. Heavier snow falls take us more time so be patient, we'll get there.
Why does the snow plow push the snow back into my driveway?
Our snow plow crews are directed to push the snow back as far as possible as chances are, there's more snow coming this winter and the room is needed for those future snowfalls.
How long does it take to plow the streets?
Each route generally takes between six to eight hours to complete based on all staff and equipment being available, weather conditions and traffic. Our goal for completion is less than twenty-four hours from the end of a typical snowfall. If your street is a secondary road and is not plowed after a snowfall with accumulation of 15 cm or more, please wait until the allotted twenty-four hours have passed after the end of the snow fall to call in. Your patience is appreciated.
The plow has been down my street but there are still areas of snow build-up. Why can't they do a better job?
Most areas of snow build-up left behind are areas where cars were parked and the plow had to go around or residents put snow back on the road. Streets could be plowed wider and left tidier if cars were parked off street or in driveways.
Residents are reminded that depositing snow on municipal roadways is an offence under the Highway Traffic Act and could be subject to a fine.
Who can I call for information?
During snow storms or after heavy snowfalls, residents may call the Public Works Yard @ 905-835-5079. The duty foreman can be reached at that phone number as well.