Snowplowing and Snow Removal

A photo of a fluffy white pile of snow with flakes falling from the sky. Text in the middle of the photo reads “Be in the know about snow!”

Plowing Operations

After a severe snowstorm, operators may have to plow a street twice. Sometimes a grader or dump truck with front and wing plows will do a first pass, followed by a sand/salt truck, to clear a small amount of snow and make sanding/salting more effective.

To clear a cul-de-sac, operators will push the remaining snow to the centre or outside of the street, depending on the available area.

In the early winter, the City removes ruts that have formed on snow-packed surfaces. This keeps catch basin open and helps prevent flooding.


When Roads and Sidewalks Get Plowed

Snow clearing is done using a road-priority system, with high-use, emergency and transit routes cleared first:

  • At the start of accumulation:
    • Highway 174, the Transitway, major roads and arterials.
    • After the last snowflake has fallen, these routes may take 2 to 4 hours to complete.   
  • 2.5 centimetres accumulation:
    • Sidewalks in the downtown core and the winter cycling network
    • After the last snowflake has fallen, these routes may take up to 4 hours to complete 
  • 5 centimetres accumulation:
    • Secondary roads and minor collectors such as Wall Road, Dovercourt Avenue, Donald Street, Springbrook Drive, etc.
    • After the last snowflake has fallen, these routes may take up to 6 hours to complete 
  • 5 centimetres accumulation:
    • Residential sidewalks
    • After the last snowflake has fallen, these routes may take 12 to 16 hours to complete 
  • 7 or more centimetres of accumulation
    • Residential roads and lanes such as Billings Bridge, Waverley Street, Smith Road, etc.
    • After the last snowflake has fallen, these routes may take 10 to 16 hours to complete.

Timelines are suspended if a Significant Weather Event is declared as operations will be carried out based on the capacity of resources in as continuous a manner as practicable.


Report issues to 3-1-1

The City has several channels available to help you report winter maintenance-related requests and accessibility concerns.  Non-urgent requests, such as those that can wait for the next business day may be reported on Here are some quick links:

For more information about City of Ottawa winter operations, please visit No access to the web or need to report a concern that requires immediate attention? Please call 3-1-1 or TTY 613-580-2401. The City of Ottawa is pleased to provide the Canada Video Relay Service (VRS) for people wishing to contact the City. Callers using VRS are connected with a sign language interpreter who provides real time interpretation for telephone calls. To reach the City of Ottawa through VRS, please dial 613-580-2400. For more information or to use this service, please visit the Canada Video Relay Service webpage.


Winter Weather Storm Parking: Did you know the City of Ottawa has a list of various places you can temporarily park during a winter weather parking ban? These spaces are free to use, just make sure you remove your vehicle when the ban is lifted. For details, please click here.


Snow Removal Operations

Snowbanks on the City’s transportation network are removed or reduced in size when they begin to restrict sightlines, travel widths, or pedestrian, vehicular, and cycling traffic. Residents are responsible for snowbanks along their private driveway.

Snowbank removal operations come secondary to standard snow clearing operations (i.e., when there is a storm, and teams must plow and/or treat roads). If snowbank removal operations are underway and a storm begins or is approaching, teams may temporarily be redeployed to respond to the changing conditions. Snowbank removal operations will resume once clearing and/or treating is complete.


What to expect

Before snowbank removal operations begin, signs will be posted in the snowbanks of streets where operations are scheduled to take place:

  • Parking is prohibited in areas where snow bank removal is taking place and drivers are required to abide by posted signage. Parking permit holders are not exempt from snow removal operations. Failure to remove a vehicle from a zone where temporary no stopping signs are posted will result in a ticket, and the vehicle will be towed to a nearby street.

Signs are not removed before operations begin as this would very time consuming but most importantly, too dangerous for teams to be working in front of the blades. Instead, signs are made using biodegradable material along with the snow, are blown into the trucks and are then brought to the snow storage facilities where they will be disposed of accordingly.

To keep our teams safe, signs are not removed before operations begin as it is too dangerous to be working in front of the blades.


Looking for your towed vehicle? Please call 3-1-1.


For winter operations updates, to report a problem or property damage, please visit


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Address: 110 Laurier Ave W, Ottawa, ON K1P 1J1