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The City maintains main roads, bus routes, bike routes and multi-use trails, residential roads and alleys throughout the winter.

When it snows, the City has a plan to efficiently clear roadways, protected bike lanes, multi-use trails and city-maintained sidewalks and bus stops.

Snow Clearing During Snowfalls

While snow is falling, equipment and crews:

  • Focus on clearing major roadways like Whitemud Drive and Yellowhead Trail
  • Clear and apply sand/salt to on/off ramps, bridge decks and river valley hills

When snow stops falling, the Snow Clearing Priority Plan begins.

Snow Clearing Priority Plan

Note: This plan begins once snow stops falling.

Road Priority Service Level Clearing Starts Parking Ban Phase
Priority 1: Arterial roads, business improvement areas, high priority active pathways Freeways, arterial roads, business improvement areas: Cleared to bare pavement within 36 hours.

Bus stops (adjacent to City property): Cleared to bare pavement within 48 hours.

High-priority active pathways (including protected bike lanes): Cleared to bare pavement within 24 hours.

Note: All time frames begin at the end of snowfall.
Once 2-3cm of snow has accumulated Phase 1
Priority 2: Collector roads, bus routes Cleared to bare pavement within 48 hours from the end of snowfall. Once 2-3cm of snow has accumulated Phase 1
Priority 3: Industrial roads Cleared to bare pavement within 5 days from the end of snowfall. Once 2-3cm of snow has accumulated Phase 2
Priority 4: Residential roads and alleys Cleared in response to 311 notifications or during Phase 2 of the parking ban.

Some proactive maintenance blading between large snowfalls to smooth ruts.

Note: roads plowed to a smooth snowpack not bare pavement.
Once 5cm of snowpack (compacted snow) has formed Phase 2
Snow Clearing Tools and Methods

Several methods are used to achieve a safe and reliable mobility network. The goal is to use the right tool and method for the current and forecasted condition.

Plows and Graders
The City uses both front and underbelly mounted plows. Front mount plows allow for clearing of roads. Underbelly plows are used to break up snowpack. Graders are the most powerful pieces of equipment within our winter fleet, and most effective at snow removal. Graders are used during major snowfalls to clear main roadways.

Hand Tools (Shovels, brooms, blowers)
In tight, small or awkward spaces such as stairs, sidewalks, trails and bus shelters, basic shovels and brooms are used by hand crews. These tools are able to clear hard to reach or tight spaces.

Salt, Sand and Chip
The City applies a mix of sand/salt pre-wet with calcium chloride to roads to maintain traction and/or melt snow and ice. The exact mix varies according to temperature and conditions and can change quickly in response to shifting weather conditions.

Chip is typically only used at very low temperatures in snow-packed areas to provide traction. The City tries to use as little of this as possible.

Calcium chloride brine with a corrosion inhibitor is currently in use for several purposes:

  • On City-maintained sidewalks, protected bike lanes and active mobility pathways (including shared use paths) when the conditions require
  • As a pre-wetting agent for the sand/salt mix that is dispensed by sanding trucks and sidewalk plows, as it prevents the mixture from freezing prior to being dispensed, results in a more even dispensing of product (less clumping), and improves the adherence of the mixture to road surfaces

A windrow is a pile of snow on the side of a road that was created by plowing or blading. After clearing residential roads, windrows of 30 cm or more that block driveways are cleared by the City, with enough access for one vehicle to pass through the windrow (about 3.5m). Windrows less than 30 cm that block driveways are the responsibility of the adjacent property owner.

City crews, when plowing or blading roads, try their best to ensure that windrows do not encroach on sidewalks. In some cases when there is a lot of snow, some may spill onto sidewalks. The City is provided some leeway by Bylaw Enforcement in this regard, and can encroach on sidewalks approximately 0.5 metres. However, if the spillover impacts use of the sidewalk itself, crews are required to bring in equipment to clear it away.

If windrows are blocking sidewalks or have caused a safety concern, please call 311 to report it to the City or use the 311 app on mobile or desktop, crews will be sent out within 1-2 days.

Windrows may lead to less on-street parking. Residents are encouraged to park on their property (for example, in driveways or garages).

The City will clear windrows where required from:

  • Arterial and collector roads
  • Bus routes
  • Windrow free zones
  • Cul-de-sacs when excessive snow volumes make it necessary
Active Pathway and Bike Lane Maintenance

Protected bike lanes are cleared within the first 24 hours as part of our first priority for snow clearing.

Painted bike lanes are cleared at the same time as adjacent main roads to ensure all travellers on busy routes are entitled to the same road maintenance standards, regardless of mode. Painted bike lanes are not cleared to bare pavement, but to the same level of service as the road they are on.

Anti-icing brine is only applied to protected bike lanes.

Anti-Icing Bike Map

Parking Bans and Roadway Alerts

Roadway Alerts

Sign up to be the first to know about major plowing events and parking bans.

Ban Updates

For More Information

Roadway Maintenance


In Edmonton: 311
Outside Edmonton: 780-442-5311

TTY 780-944-5555

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