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Snowplowing and Winter Maintenance

Winter Maintenance and Operations

Picture of a snow plow

Snow plow operations

  • Kawartha Lakes is the second largest geographic municipality in Ontario. This means we have approximately 5400 lane kilometres to clear during every winter and/or freezing rain event.
  • Snow plow operations typically begin at 4am and plow routes can take as long as ten hours to complete. Plow operators driving hours are regulated by O. Reg. 555/06 Hours of Service and this limits the number of hours they can drive in any given day.
  • We have over 70 snow plow routes throughout Kawartha Lakes.
  • If you see a truck with their snow plow up or not applying material on the road, that means the plow is currently traveling to or from their designated route. Often times, trucks need to travel other roads to reach their assigned route.

You can report winter maintenance related concerns online or call the City at 705-324-9411.

Our Winter Control Roadway Level of Service Policy and Sidewalk Level of Service Policy - Winter Maintenance provide more information about our winter control practices.

Help do your part during the winter season

  • Residents must pile snow from their driveway and walkways onto their property - not on the road.  Depositing snow on the road is a violation under the Highway Traffic Act as it can blocking ditches, culverts and storm water catch basins as well as create unsafe conditions for vehicles. The City recommends residents place the snow on the on the right side (standing in your driveway and looking towards the street) so the snow plow does not carry snow back into your driveway.
  • Keep fire hydrants clear and accessible. The extra time you take to clear the hydrant each time you shovel will make a difference in the case of a fire.
  • On your waste collection day, place bags and bins on your driveway near the edge of the road in a cleared spot. Do not place containers on snowbanks as this may cause damage to the bins if they are hit by the plow.

Kawartha Lakes does not supply salt or sand for public and private use. Access to Public Works Depots is prohibited, and residents should visit their local retailer for winter material needs.

Picture of a Snow Covered Street

Other things you need to know:

  • Overnight parking on the street is not permitted between the hours of 11pm and 6am between November 1 and April 30 as per By-law 2012-173. The by-law is in place so our Public Works division can quickly and efficiently clear our roads during the winter season without obstructions. 
  • Monitor the weather and extreme cold alerts by following your local weather forecast provider. Weather alerts can be found at the Government of Canada's website.
  • If you are planning any activities near frozen bodies of water, please ensure you read our Emergency Services' Ice Safety Tips

Frequently asked questions

Does the City clear all roads at once?

No. Roads are plowed based on traffic volume, with the roads with the highest traffic volume receiving the highest level of service. Snow plow operators clear all roads as efficiently as possible. When there is a heavy snowfall or winter events back to back, it may take longer to clear the roads.

When does the City provide winter maintenance?

The City deploys resources to maintain roads based on the Council-approved Winter Maintenance Level of Service Policy for roads.

The City deploys resources to maintain sidewalks based on the Council-approved Winter Maintenance Level of Service Policy for sidewalks.

What is bare pavement level of service?

To achieve bare pavement, treatment must be applied at the onset of snow so that a layer of brine is maintained between the road surface and accumulating snow to prevent bonding. Providing this level of service to residential roads would cause significant increases to equipment and salt requirements. This would increase costs and have a negative environmental impact.

We have a Salt Management plan to manage salt use and minimize environmental impacts. You can learn more about road salts on the Environment Canada website.

What is 'snow pack'?

Snow pack is hard-packed snow on a roadway. It is the condition that can be expected on gravel roads. Snow pack develops very quickly as vehicles travel on snow-covered roads. Snow plows are not able to scrape off snow pack as it is usually bonded to the gravel or pavement.

Although bumpy at times, vehicles typically navigate snow pack quite easily. The City takes steps to improve conditions when needed.

Why does the snow plow leave a windrow to block my driveway?

The City does not clear driveways.  
Those needing assistance to clear snow from driveways can seek the support of their neighbours, or contact a local contractor.
The plow operator also has limited control over the amount and direction of snow that comes off the plow.
When clearing your driveway, snow should be piled on private property and avoid shoveling snow into the ditch to allow for drainage during melting as per By-Law 2015-201. This can also help reduce the amount of snow that is pushed onto your driveway when a snow plow passes.

When can I expect my sidewalk to be cleared?

We usually complete sidewalk clearing within 48 hours after the end of the storm. If there is heavy snowfall, or back to back winter events it will take longer to clear all sidewalks.

Why does my lawn get damaged when the sidewalk plow goes by?

While operators strive to minimize sod damage, some degree of damage is inevitable. When snow fall occurs it can hide sidewalks and road edges and make them difficult to see in the dark or deep and drifted snow conditions. Residents that experience damage resulting from sidewalk operations can log the concern with the City and remediation, where required, will be planned when conditions and resources permit.


Resident responsibilities

You are responsible for clearing the snow on your property including the snow left by plows in your driveway and on the sidewalk. You may need to clear your driveway a number of times if plows make multiple trips on your road during the storm.

Avoid parking on the streets during a snowstorm and in the days following a snowstorm. Parked cars interfere with snow plowing operations. Plows must re-plow these areas resulting in additional costs and further inconvenience for your neighbours who must clear their driveways again.

Vehicles interfering with winter control operations are subject to an immediate ticket and/or towing.

How you can assist

  • Remove debris and snow from any catch basin inlet near or adjacent to your property;
  • Do not push or blow snow from your property back onto the street, this is dangerous and illegal;
  • Pile snow on the right side of your driveway (as you face the street) so that cleared snow does not get moved back into your driveway by the snow plow;
  • Reduce the height of snow banks by shoveling snow further back on your property to improve visibility;
  • Expose fire hydrants that become buried by snow banks and drifting snow.

Transit shelters and mailboxes

The City clears snow at bus shelters at the same time that sidewalks are plowed. Visit the transportation and transit section of our website for more information about City transit.

Canada Post clears snow away from mailbox areas. You can contact them by calling 1-800-607-6301.

Tips for safe winter driving

  • Clear snow and ice from all windows, lights, mirrors and roof;
  • Make sure you have plenty of windshield washer fluid and that it is rated to -40oC or lower;
  • Plan your route ahead of time and tell someone your destination and expected time of arrival;
  • Wear comfortable clothing that doesn't restrict your movement while at the wheel;
  • Have warm clothing in case you need to get out of your vehicle;
  • Always keep the gas tank at least half full;
  • Bring a map and be prepared to take an alternative route;
  • Bring a cell phone;
  • Use a matching set of four all-season or snow tires.

The two-second rule provides a guide to safe spacing under normal driving conditions. In winter and during poor weather conditions you should double the two second rule.

  • Pick a marker on the road ahead, such as a road sign or pole;
  • When the rear of the vehicle ahead passes the marker start to count, "one thousand and one, one thousand and two";
  • When the front of your vehicle reaches the marker stop counting;
  • If you reach the marker before you finish counting, "one thousand and two" you are following too closely.

Keep a winter driving survival kit in your vehicle that includes:

  • ice scraper/snow brush
  • shovel
  • sand or other traction aid
  • tow rope or chain
  • booster cables
  • road flares or warning lights
  • gas line antifreeze
  • flashlight and batteries
  • first aid kit
  • fire extinguisher
  • small tool kit
  • extra clothing and footwear
  • blanket
  • non-perishable energy foods such as chocolate, granola bars, juice or water
  • candle and small tin can
  • matches

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