Winter Control

Our goal is to maintain safe winter driving conditions throughout the City during a storm event. We clear, sand and salt City roads meeting or exceeding minimum standards required by the Province.

Our winter control services are based on a priority system. There are three categories of roads, primary roads, secondary roads and laneways.

What is a primary road?

A primary road is a main road with a higher volume of traffic that provides access to most of the secondary roads.

What is a secondary road?

A secondary road is any other road that is not a primary road or a laneway.

What is a laneway?

A laneway is a designated municipal rear laneway.

During a snowfall, primary roads cleared for emergency services and for school bus and transit routes. After the primary roads are clear, plowing and sanding starts on secondary roads. Laneways are cleared once the primary and secondary roads are completed. Our goal is to address all roads within 24 hours of a snow event.

When does snow clearing begin?

Road ClassPrimary RoadSecondary RoadLaneway

Start Winter Control

Snow Depth

8 cm (3 inches)

8 cm (3 inches)

10 cm (4 inches)

Clear Within

Time Frame

12 hours

16 hours

24 hours

Treat Icy Roads

Time Frame

8 hours

12 hours

16 hours

Frigid Facts

  • The City has 279 km of roadway, or 520-lane km.
  • The City is divided into eight plowing routes, with a snow-clearing vehicle assigned to each route.
  • The total lane km for each route varies from 33km to 97km.
  • Each plow route takes approximately six to eight hours to complete, depending on weather, traffic, available staff, equipment and the number of vehicles parked on the roadways. For each plow route, the primary roads are completed before the secondary routes.

How can you HELP?

Please don't park where we plow!

Parked cars make plowing difficult and sometimes impossible. If you park on the road during a snowfall, you are subject to a fine and your vehicle could be towed at your expense. With your help winter maintenance crews can plow snow faster and reduce the chances of your car being stuck in a snow drift.

What to do if you do not have a driveway, or have more cars than off-street parking spaces?

Move your vehicle to a different location until the streets have been cleared so they don't interfere with plowing.

Give us space

Driveway space

Snowplows have no place to push the snow except to the curb or side of the road. Sometimes this happens just after you have finished shoveling. We appreciate that this can be frustrating, however; if you can pile the snow on the right side of your driveway (when facing the road) you will have less snow to re-shovel after our plows have gone by.

Snowbank space

Keep children safe by preventing them from playing or climbing on snowbanks at the side of the road.

Clear a space

If you have a utility or mailbox, a catch basin or fire hydrant in front of your property, clear a space around it. Accidents and emergencies happen, let's work together to avoid them! [insert Keep them Clear image of fire hydrant clearing instructions from Michelle Idzenga]

No space

Our bylaws prohibit anyone from clearing snow onto our roads or sidewalks. You could be told to remove it or face a penalty if our crews have to do the job for you. If you hire someone to clear your driveway, make sure they do not push snow into the roadway or fill in the sidewalks.

Clear your sidewalks

Keeping your sidewalks clear from snow and ice helps to prevent slip and fall accidents and it also helps those using walkers, canes, strollers and wheelchairs. In Port Colborne, every owner or occupant of a building is responsible for clearing sidewalks bordering their property of all snow and ice within 24 hours of a snow event. This allows the safe passage of all pedestrians. If you are renting a property, please make necessary arrangements with the property owner regarding snow removal. Those who do not comply may face fines or have the snow and ice removed at the owner's expense.

On garbage day

Place garbage and recycling containers on your driveway near the edge of the road, NOT on top of snow banks.

Consider being a snow buddy!

After a snowfall, a neighbour may need your help! Snow Buddies is a local organization that is always looking for volunteers for those who need winter help. Volunteer by calling 905-682-3800 ext. 28.

If you live in the country and your mailbox is damaged by a plow…

See Rural Mailbox Maintenance During Winter Operations for more information.

Is your family prepared?

Log on to our emergency preparedness page to make sure you have the tools needed to keep yourself, your loved ones, and your property safe during a winter emergency.