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Bradford West Gwillimbury

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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​S​now Removal FAQ


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Who is responsible for what?

The Town is responsible for clearing snow from the following:
  • ​562 lane km of Town roads (478 paved, 84 unpaved)
  • 111 km of sidewalks
  • 15 parking lots (1,800 square metres cleared by staff and 66,000 square metres by contracted service)
  • 124 bus stops
  • 6 signalized pedestrian crosswalks
  • 1,000 fire hydrants

Res​idents are responsible for
  • upholding winter parking restrictions: on-street parking is prohibited from December 1 to April 1 in the downtown area* from 3-6 a.m. and on all other streets from 2-6 a.m.​  
    *(Holland St W to Holland Crt, Holland St E to Nelson St, Simcoe Rd to Centre St, Barrie St to John St)
  • parking off-street during and following a snow storm, regardless of time of day, is very helpful to ensure plows can clear thoroughly​
  • ​clearing snow from your property including steps and driveways
  • ensuring that you do not deposit snow from your property onto sidewalks or roads

The County of Simcoe is responsible for clearing County roads including County Rd 4 (aka Hwy 11/Yonge St) and County Rd 88, and the province is responsible for 400-series highways including ramps.​

Winter service levels - what to expect

Does the Town clear all roads at once? 

No, roads are plowed based on priority. Major roads - referred to as 'primary' and 'secondary' roads - are plowed first so that emergency service vehicles can move easily through the town, and smaller 'local' streets are plowed afterwards.​ Here's how they break down (click for map):

  • Primary or "arterial" roads (see orange lines on map) are roads with the highest speeds and greatest volumes of traffic - examples include Line 8, Holland St and Barrie St
  • Secondary or "collector" roads (see purple lines on map) are roads with less traffic than primary roads, and generally connect residential roads to primary roads - examples include Colborne St, Northgate Ave and West Park Ave
  • Residential or "local" roads (see black lines) are roads with much less traffic, often in residential neighbourhoods - examples include Cambridge Cres and Faris St; there are two local roads in Bradford designated as "local priority" roads (see green lines on map) - meaning they get cleared before other local roads - because the secondary road for that neighbourhood has not yet been completed

When does the Town start plowing roads? 

Once 5-8 cm (2-3") of snow has accumulated, crews begin work on the most heavily travelled roads, starting with primary, then secondary and then local priority roads (click for map). If snow continues, then by the time 8-10 cm (3-4") has accumulated, plows will start to visit the local roads. Staff monitor road conditions on an ongoing basis, and if snow continues to fall for a long period or temperatures fluctuate, plows may have to be diverted from residential areas and other small streets back to the major roads to maintain them in a safe manner.

How long does street clearing usually take?

There are many factors that influence how long plowing will take, including time of day the storm starts and stops, how long it lasts, wind conditions, fluctuating temperatures, traffic and obstacles such as parked cars. Staff aim to have primary roads cleared within 6-12 hours of the end of snowfall, secondary roads within 12-16 hours and all remaining roads within 16-24 hours of the end of snowfall (click for map). Frequently roads need to be revisited after this time for further maintenance, for instance to push snowbanks farther back or clear snow remaining where cars were parked. Service levels may be affected by things like fluctuating temperatures or extremely long storm systems.

Does the Town maintain sidewalks?

Yes. Once 8 cm (3") of snow has accumulated, the Town will begin plowing sidewalks and ende​avour to have them all cleared within 48 hours. Sidewalks located on major roads and on streets with schools are addressed first. They are maintained to a snow-packed condition, not scraped to bare pavement.

How many plows does the Town have?

The Town has five sidewalk plows and twelve combination plow/sander trucks, as well as a few other vehicles for snow operations such as graders and loaders. During a snow event, six plow/sander trucks are used within Bradford and the other six on rural roads and in smaller communities in BWG. 

Should I see bare pavement when plowing is complete?

No. The Town is committed to plowing down to a snow-packed level, which means a hard-packed snow surface. The amount of scraping and salt that would be required to get to a bare concrete level would be costly and damaging to both the pavement and the environment.

When does the Town apply sand or salt?

Salt is only applied when road temperatures rise above -12°C and sand is applied when the road temperature is below -12°C. Sand or salt is applied at the beginning of a light snowfall to prevent ice from forming, and after heavier snowfalls once the snow has been plowed off the road. Residential roads are sanded only in extreme conditions as necessary, particularly on hills, curves and at intersections. Salting and sanding consume most of the Town's winter control budget.

Does the Town actually haul away snow that has been plowed?

Generally speaking, the Town does not remove snow, only plows it to the curb; however, there are some specific exceptions. In the downtown core, where there are no boulevards on which to store snow, staff remove snowbanks to enable people parking at the curb to access downtown sidewalksTown staff also remove snow from areas like courts/cul-de-sacs if snow storage has been maximized. ​This occurs only after all plowing has been completed, and if there is adequate time and resources available with no imminent snowfall expected. 

Snow clearing hows and whys

Why does the plow leave a pile of snow at the end of my driveway and what can be done about it?

Our plow operators do not intentionally block driveways. Snow plows do not remove snow from roads; they push it towards the curb, and with over 12,000 driveways in BWG, it's not possible for operators to lift the plow blade at every driveway. The Town understands that the resulting mound of snow at the end of a driveway (called a 'windrow') can be frustrating, but it is unavoidable.
 
The Town does not provide a service to remove windrows because the added cost of millions of dollars per year would have an unacceptable impact on the Town budget and tax rates. 
 
Tip: When clearing the end of your driveway, try to pile the snow on the left side (facing your driveway). This can help reduce the amount of snow that is pushed back onto your driveway when a snow plow passes from the right. Residents are also encouraged to help neig​hbours in need when possible to remove heavy snow.​

I cleaned my driveway after the road was plowed. Why is there another windrow on my driveway?

After the initial clearing, plows revisit roads to clean up remaining snow from around previously parked cars or additional accumulation, and to push back snow banks. This is necessary to ensure a safe road width, to leave enough room for the next snow storm that comes along, and to move the snow back before it freezes over storm drains. 

How come my street doesn't look like it's been plowed even though it has?

There are several reasons why roads may appear snowy even after plowing. If cars are parked on the road when the plow comes along, they will have to go around vehicles, which leaves areas of deeper snow. If residents push snow from their own drives onto the road, this also creates random and potentially dangerous piles (and is in violation of provincial law). Residents should also be aware that the Town does not aim to plow down to bare pavement, as this is harmful to roads and the environment, so a thick layer of hard-packed snow is to be expected.

​Why are courts/cul-de-sacs cleared last?

The Town starts plowing on roads with the highest traffic volume and works to those with the lowest. Courts/cul-de-sacs have no through traffic so they have the lowest volume, and also require specialized snow removal procedures. Most are serviced on a single shift after other roads have been plowed. Because driveways are typically close together, plows generally need to deposit snow in the centre of the court.

​Why does one side of the road/sidewalk get cleared but sometimes it takes hours before the other side gets done?

Each plow has a route that essentially involves travelling in 'squares', making right-hand turns as much as possible, to ensure snow is continuously pushed to the right-hand curb. This frequently means that one side of the road will be cleared and the plow will move on to another street or another block and come back to finish the other side later. Plows may also leave an area before it is completely cleared for reasons including being diverted to a higher priority area, needing to get more materials (sand/salt), shift changes, etc.

Sometimes I see a plow driving down a road/sidewalk that still has snow on it but not plowing, why is this?

There are several possible reasons, for example: the plow could be on its way to work in another area, to pick up materials or for shift change; it may be on a sanding/salting run but not need to apply materials on every part of the road/sidewalk; it may be driving on a stretch of road/sidewalk where salt has been applied and they don't want to scrape it off (since it takes some time to work). 

Why are trucks sometimes not on the roads later in the day even if plowing is not finished or it is still snowing?

Snowfall frequently begins during the night, so the first shift of staff typically start work in the very early morning, with another shift coming on later in the day. Ideally, roads are sufficiently cleared so that plows do not need to be on the road during the evening rush hour when they may interfere with traffic flow. In the cases of longer snowfalls or other unusual weather, a third shift may be needed, and it may run through the rush hour period. An additional factor to be considered is that plow operators are required to take a rest period after 13 hours on the road, so during especially long snow events there may be times when all operators have worked as many hours as they are permitted and there may be a small gap before plows can go back on the roads.​

Resident responsibilities and how you can help

How can I help?

Keeping our town safe and clean is everyone's responsibility, and we thank you for your efforts such as:

  • ​Be patient and courteous. Drive according to conditions and consider snow tires for safer driving.
  • Keep a safe distance from plows on the roads and do not attempt to pass, as this creates a safety risk for everyone on the road.
  • Be kind, and help out elderly neighbours and others in need of assistance to remove their snow.
  • Shovel or blow snow to the side of your driveway, not back onto the road where it can create dangerous lumps and ruts.
  • Don't park on the road on snowy days when plows will be out. This makes it impossible to clear all of the snow, and may result in extra snow being pushed towards your or your neighbour's driveway as the plow goes around your vehicle.
  • On garbage days, place bins/bags on your driveway, behind the curb, not on top of snow banks where plows may knock them down.​  ​

What can be done to help seniors and others who have difficulty clearing their driveways/walks?

At the moment, it is up to residents who are not able to look after it on their own to arrange for their snow to be cleared by a family member, neighbour or paid service. BWG Council is investigating options for a volunteer program to assist seniors and other residents with restricted mobility to clear their driveways, ideally in time for the 2015/2016 winter season.​

Why can't I push the snow off of my driveway onto the road?

Depositing snow or ice on the street creates hazardous traffic conditions that could result in an accident. This practice is in violation of the Provincial Highway Traffic Act, and violation could result in charges.  ​

I know overnight parking is prohibited, but what about when the Town is plowing during the day?

Cars parked on the side of the road make it extremely difficult for plows to operate, and impossible for roads to be cleared thoroughly. In some cases, the position of parked cars can impede plows entirely. Residents are asked to park in their own driveways/garages whenever possible during and immediately after snowfall to ensure plows can clear roads thoroughly. Staff may knock on your door to ask you to move your vehicle if it is preventing the snow plow from getting down the street - if you see a plow coming and can move your vehicle even for a short period, this is appreciated.​​

Damage and claims

What should I do if I believe a snow plow has damaged my property?

While our operators do their best to avoid damage to property, unfortunately it can occasionally occur due to the use of large, heavy equipment during frequently unpredictable conditions. After reviewing the information below, if you believe the Town is responsible for damage to your property, please contact our Administration Office by calling 905-775-5366.​

Landscaping

The Town is not responsible for damages to any decorative elements that abut the curb or sidewalk, such as concrete curbing or wood ties. All decorative items that abut sidewalks and curbs should be flush 50 cm (18") from the edge of the curb or sidewalk to reduce the chance of damage to your property and snow removal equipment, and prevent injury to operators. ​​To minimize the chances of damage, homeowners should properly mark decorative elements during the winter and observe proper installation techniques. 

Mailboxes

It is the responsibility of the owners of rural mailboxes to ensure their box is securely mounted and correctly placed on the municipal road allowance, and to inspect it periodically. Plows do not intentionally hit mailboxes, and most damage to mailboxes is due to them being brittle, decayed or improperly installed. Snow is compacted as the plow pushes through and moves to it towards the edge of the road, thus increasing the weight of the snow as it comes off the plow blade. The combined force and weight may be enough to dislodge decaying or improperly mounted mailboxes. The Town is not responsible for replacement of mailboxes damaged by snow moved during typical road maintenance.

Click for further information on rural mailboxes.

Sod

The Town strives to limit the amount of damage to sod along sidewalks and curbs. Some damage is unavoidable, as the plows are clearing an extensive network of sidewalks and roads. Sod damage is reviewed in the spring following the​ winter season. If it is determined that there has been extensive damage, repairs will be completed with topsoil and seed only.​

Customer service and inquiries

What do I do if my street gets missed?

If you think your road has been missed, please call us at 905-778-2055 ext. 2222. It may be that we haven't gotten to your street yet (please see the service level agreement​ for timeframes), or that it was unintentionally missed. Depending on the snow event and other factors, it may also be that your road was plowed but is no longer in good condition. Staff will investigate to see if further action is required.​

Can I contact you with this information electronically?

To contact us electronically with comments or concerns regarding snow operations, please visit the Town Facebook page​​This allows us to address common questions where all residents can benefit from the information.

Can I find out when my street/sidewalk is going to be cleared?

It is not possible to provide estimates on specific streets. Please see our service levels page for information on plowing timeframes.​​ We will also post on the Town Facebook page​ if there are service disruptions or other updates related to snow removal service.

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