BY KELLY ROCHE
City crews are prepared to plow through the white stuff — whenever it’s coming.
With 380 pieces of equipment on standby during the season, “our priority for winter maintenance is to ensure that emergency and public transit vehicles have safe access to routes on major roads,” said director of works operations & maintenance Geoff Wright.
Light flurries began in south Mississauga around 2 p.m. Sunday, continuing into the evening. The overnight low is -3C, and Environment Canada is predicting a 40 cent chance of flurries on Monday, with an expected high of 3C.
Snowfall warnings from southwestern Ontario to southern Quebec were issued by the federal agency Saturday, due to a low pressure system from Texas heading north, hitting Barrie and cottage country with up to 20 cms and covering the London to Windsor corridor.
When snow comes down in Mississauga, main roads such as Burnhamthorpe Rd., Dundas St., and Hurontario St., are cleared first, said city spokeswoman Catherine Monast.
Major roads are salted when snowfall amounts to eight cms or less, and plowed then salted if snowfall exceeds eight cms. “When snowfalls are intense or of long duration, it can impact the length of time it takes for our crews to get to bus stops and side roads,” said Wright.
“The priority route system we use and the winter maintenance standards help our crews manage heavy snowfalls throughout the winter.”
The city plows more than 5,500 lane kms of roads overall — 3,800 lane kms of which are priority roads, plus 1,700 secondary lane kms.
Roughly 1,400 kms of priority sidewalks are plowed, representing 55 per cent of the total length of sidewalks in Mississauga (2,400 kms).
A priority route system is also used to clear and salt bus stops, sidewalks and pedestrian crossings.
GPS units monitor all salt and plow vehicles, sidewalk equipment, and bus stop clearing crews.
Twenty anti-icing trucks and two pre-wetting trucks are deployed during the season, and all of the city’s salt trucks have electronic spreader controls.
The budget for snow clearing and winter operations this year is $22.1 million, with an $8.3 million reserve fund on hand for a particularly cruel season.
The Region of Peel is responsible for clearing and maintaining 1635 lane kms of regional roads, such as Erin Mills Pkwy./Mississauga Rd., Winston Churchill Blvd., Dixie Rd., and the Queensway.
December 21 marks the first day of winter.
· 70,568.38 tonnes of salt were ordered for the November 2014 to March 2015 winter maintenance season.
· In 2014, Mississauga saw 141 cms of snow and 609.4 mm of rain, according to Environment Canada.
· There are 102 salt routes, 117 plow routes and 24 anti-icing routes. Rock salt, or sodium chloride, is used on priority roads and residential roads. When conditions are appropriate, treated salt, also known as magnesium chloride, may be used on the residential non-priority roads. Colder temperatures (-7C and lower) may warrant using treated salt for residential roads, sidewalks and bus stops.
· Under appropriate conditions, the city may use brine as a pre-treatment on priority roads three to four days prior to a large storm. Brine is water saturated with salt, which accelerates the reaction time of rock salt when applied during a storm and also minimizes the bonding of ice to a roadway to make plowing easier.
(Source: City of Mississauga)