City prepares for winter

Everyone needs to be prepared and patient this winter while city crews work hard to maintain and clear a network of more than 2,250 km of road and more than 1,150 km of sidewalk to keep our streets and neighbourhoods safe and moving.

The City of Markham uses weather monitoring technology and science-based practices to monitor roads before, during, and after bad weather to adjust to conditions and to ensure public safety. There are 241 personnel on standby 24/7, 146 road plows and driveway machines, 32 salt trucks and 54 sidewalk plows in our fleet.

Road plowing in residential areas start at the end of the snowfall when snow reaches 7.5 centimetres (the length of a bank card or 3 inches) deep, and is usually complete within 12 to 16 hours after the end of a snowfall. Sidewalk plowing begins when snow reaches 5 centimetres (the length of a house key or 2 inches) deep, and is completed within 24 hours after the end of a snowfall.

Snow clearing starts with the largest, busiest roads — known as arterial or primary roads — that connect critical services such as hospitals, ambulance, fire stations, police and GO stations when snow reaches 3 centimetres (the length of a paper clip or 1.2 inches). Once clear, these main roads allow plows to reach secondary roads that serve schools, libraries, community centres, industrial and commercial areas. Finally, the plows can reach local roads and lanes which are usually in residential areas.

If you do not see plows immediately after a snowfall, be patient and check the Winter Maintenance App at to find out their status.

After plowing, it is normal for some snow to be left on the surface of roads and lanes especially on local roads. Busy moving traffic on busy arterial and secondary roads help melt the snow, creating a bare surface faster than residential roads with less traffic.

It is still safe to drive on snow-covered roads as long as drivers drive according to weather and road conditions. Slow down and give yourself extra time to arrive at your destination safely.

Brine, salt and sand are used to prevent roads from becoming icy. Remember, salt is only effective at temperatures of -12 degrees Celsius and above. The city’s Salt Management Plan promotes environmentally friendly salt use, storage and transportation.

Visit for more details.


Photo: Mayor Frank Scarpitti and the rest of council give a thumbs up to the city’s winter road operations team.

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