Give your shovels a break this week but make sure to put on a few extra layers as forecast shows that we may be reaching a seasonal low before we head into the weekend! With little precipitation expected this week, it’s an ideal time for Roads and Parking Services to kick its snowbank removal operations up a notch, and that’s exactly what’s in store for this week’s operational forecast.
Snowbank removal operations have resumed! Today we’ll be updating you on what we’ve accomplished, the challenges we’ve encountered and what our plan is for the days ahead. But before we dive in, here are a few important factors that are behind the consideration, timing and planning of our snowbank removal operations:
- Snowbank removal operations are planned in accordance with the Council-approved Winter Maintenance Quality Standards and are prioritized based on road classification and the amount of snow that is encroaching on the roadway.
- Temporary no parking signs will be erected in snowbanks where operations are set to begin. Once signs are posted, vehicles must be removed from the roadway or risk being ticketed and towed to a nearby street. No one is exempt from these operations, including residential parking permit holders.
- When snowbank removal is underway and a winter weather event is occurring or approaching, crews are redeployed to respond to the changing conditions. Once the transportation network is restored, snowbank removal operations will resume.
2022/2023 in A Nutshell
We’d like to look back at this winter season but more specifically, what Ottawa experienced in terms of weather and what that means for our operations in the coming days. To put the 2022/2023 season into perspective, this season’s total snow fall is currently sitting at 204.9 centimetres. This is nearly double the amount over this period’s average from the last 3 years. 33% of this accumulation – 67.5 centimetres to be exact – fell in the last 15 days alone, putting us well ahead of the average totals from the last 3 entire winter seasons. And, there is still a lot of winter left to be had.
Until mid-January, rain and above-freezing temperatures were on our side as these helped to lessen the size of the snowbanks. The need for their removal wasn’t imminent, but little did we know that back-to-back-to-back winter weather events were on their way. Over the next 15 days, an additional 67.5 centimetres of snow was dropped onto our network and so our operations had to adjust not only quickly, but also frequently.
Let’s take a closer look at what happened:
- Ottawa received 24 centimeters of snow between January 11 and January 13. Snowbank removal operations began on January 15.
- 3 days later – on January 18 – operations shifted as winter weather was approaching. During this winter weather event, a little more than 10 centimetres of snow fell onto certain parts the network. Snowbank removal operations resumed on Saturday, January 21.
- On January 25, snowbank removal operations had to pause – yet again – so that teams could respond to the next winter weather event of the season. Over the next 24 hours, the City received close to 30 centimetres of snow, significantly more than what was originally forecasted.
- Snowbank removal operations resumed for a third time on Saturday, January 28 but were soon after interrupted as Sunday’s forecast showed that another 10 centimetres was on its way.
- 19 centimetres of snow fell through Sunday, with an additional 5.4 centimetres on Monday. Full snowbank removal operations resumed yesterday evening.
Roads and Parking Services has been navigating through the forecast, actual conditions, and impacts that recent winter weather events had on sidewalks, roads, and the winter cycling network. Even so, to-date this season we’ve already assigned 398 crews to snow removal operations and their ongoing and persistent efforts have led to:
- The removal of snowbanks from nearly 1.5 million curb metres of the City’s transportation network.
- The removal of snowbanks from more than 1,400 street segments.
- Completed snow removal operations on 1,500 kilometers of road from our network.
Our work is far from over and will continue through this week and into the weekend.
Clean-up efforts from the last 48 hours are wrapping up and finishing touches are being applied to problem spots such as bus stops, crosswalks, turning lanes, intersections, corners, and cul-de-sacs.
This evening, crews will continue snowbank removal operations. Keep an eye out for posted signage as this is an indication that work is about to begin! In Urban neighbourhoods, we will be prioritizing residential streets where snowbanks have not yet been removed. As for other parts of the City, you can expect snowbank removal work to begin on arterials and major collectors, with school zones being the focus through the overnight hours.
Roads and Parking Services is taking full advantage of this week’s forecast and will be working day in and day out on removing snowbanks from the transportation network.
We would like to thank everyone for their patience as we work on the next stage of our winter operations.