Winter Operations Update - Friday, February 17

It may be Friday before a long weekend, but we have another winter weather event on our gloves and Roads and Parking Services is at it again working away on restoring the transportation network.

Forecast and Conditions

Thursday evening, snow came a little later than expected and began during the late evening. Continuing overnight, pockets of ice pellets came and went before strong wind gusts and the peak accumulation period moved into the pre-dawn hours. As of 9 am this morning, the Ottawa Airport reported 17 centimetres. Rates have since started to decline, a pattern that will continue into the afternoon before coming to a full stop, but not before bringing an additional 5 centimetres of snow onto the network. 

This event is coming down with double what the forecast had originally shown. With the bulk of the accumulation falling shortly before sunrise, many sidewalks, roads and the winter cycling network were snow covered and slippery. If you are out today, please try leaving earlier than planned, give yourself extra space to stop and do not pass our working vehicles. Blue lights flashing means that we are on the job and remember – the safest place to be when it’s snowing, is behind a working snow plow. 

Our Response

Yesterday evening when this event began, teams started clearing and treating sidewalks, priority roads and the winter cycling network. Working overnight and into this morning, strong winds made things challenging as blowing snow was pushed onto certain parts of our network, adding additional strain onto sidewalks, roads, and the winter cycling network. Operators are expected to reach residential streets by mid-morning today.

Yesterday’s forecast showed 5 to 10 centimetres of snow with a chance that some of the accumulation could come down as ice pellets. Given the forecast’s uncertainty, we decided not to call a winter parking ban. However, with more than 20 centimetres of snow possible before the end of this event, today, we need your help. Please find off street parking wherever possible. Ask a friend, a neighbour or family member if their laneway is available to you throughout this event. Teams need all the space they can get to properly restore the network, and we appreciate any relief you can provide as we work through our response.

Operational Update – Pothole Repairs

Crews kicked it into overdrive before the start of this event to try and fill as many potholes as operationally possible. With more than 70 crews on the job this past week, Roads and Parking Services managed to bring this year’s fill total to 11,448 potholes before efforts needed to be redeployed to respond to this event. Pothole repair work will resume once staff are able to transition from responding to this event and the cleanup that is expected to continue into the weekend.

Next Steps

Residential work is expected to begin mid-morning today and work will continue into the evening. Once complete, efforts will shift into cleaning up problem spots such as bus stops, corners, intersections, turning lanes, and cul-de-sacs. These will continue until the last bus stop has been cleared.  

Looking at the forecast, there seems to be a couple of clear days ahead before a bit of wintry mix makes a return on Monday. Until then, teams will finish responding to the conditions and hopefully get a bit of a reprieve before the next event. But, as always, we will be monitoring the forecast through the weekend, and we have teams on-call who will be ready to respond according to the conditions. 

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