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December 13, 2013
City of Toronto reminds residents about snow-clearing service
With the possibility of a mid-level snow storm expected over the next 24 hours, the City of Toronto is reminding residents and businesses about the service for snow clearing that the City provides and what residents can do before and during a storm.

Before the onset of a storm, Transportation Services applies a layer of salt brine to hills and bridges throughout the city. The application of salt brine is intended to prevent the snow from bonding to the pavement and makes it easier to plow the snow to the side of the road.

As soon as the snow begins, Transportation Services sends out its fleet of salt trucks to the expressways and main roads. Local roads and laneways are salted soon after. When two centimetres of snow have accumulated, plowing begins on the expressways and, when five centimetres have accumulated, plowing begins on the main roads. Plowing on the expressways and main roads will continue until the operation is complete.

If the snow accumulation reaches eight centimetres, local road plowing will begin once the storm has ended. Plowing on the local roads is intended to make streets passable and is usually completed within 14 to 16 hours after the snow stops falling. During the busy time of plowing, snow-service requests are generally not taken by 311 call-centre staff. Residents are asked not to call 311 during the storm to ask when their street will be plowed, as the City is unable to predict the timing. Residents should limit their calls about snow-related questions/concerns during the storm to matters that require urgent attention.

The City will open residential driveway windrows wherever it is mechanically possible to do so. Typically, driveway windrows are opened within one and two hours of the road being plowed.

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

The public can learn more about sidewalk snow clearing in Toronto and view a map of the areas where the sidewalk service is provided at

General tips:
- If the snowfall is significant, consider working from home that day if it's an option.
- If the storm is severe, avoid driving if you can – for personal safety as well as to permit snow-clearing operations to be undertaken efficiently.
- If you must travel, consider taking public transit.
- Pick up any critical medications and essential goods before the storm.

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. Toronto's government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Media Contact
Steve Johnston
Senior Communications Coordinator



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