The warm weather is upon us yet again, but winter is coming!
Meteorologists are predicting that southern Ontario is going to be hit with more precipitation for the 2017-2018 winter.
For Londoners this may not necessarily mean just snow. John Parsons is the division manager of Transportation and Roadside Operations for the city. Parsons says that freezing rain is particularly difficult when maintaining sidewalks and roads.
“We have seen that there are more freezing rain events, and those are the most difficult things to deal with. Really all you can do is get out there as soon as possible and salt. Apply a lot of salt.”
With London near Lakes Erie and Huron, experiencing heavier precipitation is not unusual. Lake-effect snow is when a cool air mass moves over the warmer body of water. The bottom layer of the air mass is warmed from the body of water, and picks up water vapour. The water vapour then travels through the cooler air mass, freezes and then fall back down to the earth.
The city has a crew that works 24/7 to ensure the roads are clear. London has more than 25 salt and sander trucks, 65 road ploughs and more than 44 sidewalk machines.
Parsons says that if city’s toolkit needs assistance, then there are more than 30 sub-contracted companies that they can chose from.
“All of our equipment goes out first. If we need more, we call in the contractors to help us out to continue on with that operation so that we can get the streets and sidewalks cleared to the provincial standard.”
Up to 50% of winter road maintenance is sub-contracted. The companies are based off of price, and equipment needed.
The province’s standards for how fast it must be cleared depends upon the depth of snowpack, and what is being cleared.
The priorities for snow removal and maintenance are as follows:
- -Major streets/intersections
- -Bus routes
- -Sidewalks/bus stops
- -Residential roads
The city clears and maintains 2,100 bus stops, 3,555 kilometres of roadway, and 1,475 kilometres of sidewalk.
As much as the city does, Parsons says it’s always nice to see neighbours maintaining driveways and walkways for those who require some help.