Learn more about snow removal procedures by viewing the Frequently Asked Questions below. Have a question that isn't addressed below? Give the Town of Newmarket a call at 905-895-5193 and one of our Customer Service associates will gladly answer any inquiries you have.
This Frequently Asked Questions page addresses general questions the Town of Newmarket receives for winter road maintenance. For more information on sidewalk snow plowing procedures, please view the sidewalk snow clearing webpage.
How much salting/plowing does the Town of Newmarket conduct?
The winter maintenance crews are responsible for clearing:
- 312 km of roads for salting operations
- 624 km of roads for plowing operations
The Town's winter maintenance crews are responsible for plowing and salting local Town of Newmarket roads. Regional roads such as Mulock Drive, Davis Drive, Bayview Avenue, Leslie Street and Yonge Street are completed by York Region.
Various equipment is used to conduct road and sidewalk snow clearing - the fleet is made up of 12 plows, complete with salt units and 18 sidewalk snowplows.
What does a routine snow event look like for Town crews?
During salting operations:
- When snow accumulation is 6 cm or less
1. Patrol staff monitoring the weather and road conditions will make the call to send out snow crews. A call will be made to the Lead Hand staff member who will call the snow crew operators and contractors.
2. Once all snow equipment is checked for safety measures and loaded with snow clearing material (salt), the operators will be assigned their equipment. Depending on the road conditions, the salt application rate is monitored through a spreader control unit.
3. Primary roads are salted first, then secondary roads. All trucks are tracked by GPS to ensure streets are not missed.
4. Once the operator has completed their assigned route, they will be asked to assist other routes (if required) in order to ensure the safety of our residents and community.
During snow plowing operations:
- When snow accumulations are greater than 6 cm.
1. Patrol staff monitoring the weather and road conditions will make the call to send out snow crews once snow accumulation is greater than 6 cm. Prior to plowing trucks being dispatched, salting trucks will have completed primary routes. Salting the road prior to plowing helps provide a brine to assist with breaking the bond between the snow and the pavement.
2. Weather and temperatures will be monitored throughout the snow event to help predict the length of the snow event.
3. Once primary streets have been plowed, crews will continue to apply salt material to the roads.
4. Operators will do their best to plow cul-de-sacs/wide elbows during snow operations to give access to Emergency Vehicles and the travelling public.
5. Once plow routes have been completed, operators are then assigned courts/elbow routes. These areas can take anywhere between 24 to 48 hours after a snow event.
Under the Minimum Maintenance Standards (Reg. 239), the Town has anywhere between 12 and 24 hours to clear roads that are classified under various categories, for example, primary roads are required to be plowed within a 12-hour period once there is 8 cm or more snow.
Who/what determines the schedule for clearing streets?
Weather is the overall factor that determines how quickly the streets can be cleared. Snow clearing schedules may change within minutes due to a winter weather system or temperature variances. It is also important to remember that the safety of everyone is the Town's priority when storms occur. Town of Newmarket operations staff must assess several variables as well as the quality standards for clearing snow.
Does the Town monitor the weather?
Yes, Town staff receive detailed weather forecast four to five times within a 24-hour period. This allows staff to monitor the winter conditions, plan and prepare for the tasks ahead. During storm advisory situations, weather forecasts are updated more often while staff continue to monitor weather radar images from Environment Canada.
What streets are plowed first?
The Town is divided into 12 routes. Each route is made up of streets that are categorized as primary and secondary. Primary streets - roads that carry higher volumes of traffic and lead to areas such as business areas, the hospital and schools - are cleared first. After the primary routes are completed, secondary routes (local Newmarket streets), will be completed.
Sometimes, why does it take longer to plow my residential streets?
On occasion, snowstorms can last for a number of hours. A lengthy snowfall or a variety of precipitation conditions (freezing rain, ice etc.) requires snow crews to re-plow primary routes to keep them safe for heavier traffic before moving onto secondary routes (residential streets).
How long does it usually take to clear the snow in Town?
Most routes are completed within a 12-hour period. If there is a prolonged snowfall, or complicated weather patterns (freezing rain, heavy snowfall, cars parked on the road etc.) clearance times can be affected. In addition, the Highway Traffic Act regulates the number of working hours of snow crews. During prolonged snowfalls, crews are required to rest before they are able to work again.
Why are courts, elbows and cul-de-sacs cleared later than most streets?
Due to the shape and varying size of courts, elbows and cul-de-sacs, specialized equipment is needed to remove snow in these areas. These areas will be serviced once primary and secondary routes are completed.
Town staff sometimes use courts, elbows and cul-de-sacs to store snow during snow events. We apologize for the inconvenience and understand that this can be frustrating for those that live in the area. Town staff continue to review the snow removal process in an effort to minimize and reduce delays that occur in clearing these areas.
The Town has over 250 cul-de-sacs and 125 wide elbow streets.
I think the plows missed my street
Crews take extra care to ensure that no streets are missed. Occasionally streets can be missed due to technological errors (GPS). If this has occurred, please let our Customer Service centre know by calling 905-895-5193. Snow crews will be notified and arrangements will be made to have the street cleared.
When is salt or sand used?
The Town uses 100 percent salt called Thawrox during winter maintenance. A salt and sand mixture is used for sidewalk snow maintenance procedures.
The Town of Newmarket uses modern technology in the application of this material and we keep up-to-date on new developments. Treated salt helps reduce application rates allowing us to do more with less. Our goal is to be proactive in this area, recognizing that the safety of town streets during slippery conditions must not be jeopardized by the use of alternative products. Pickled sand is used if temperatures are forecasted to drop below -17°C for an extended period. This material lessens the possibility of any re-freezing and gives some needed grit to assist with traction.
Why does the Town salt roads first?
Salting is used to control winter road conditions. It is important to prevent snow or ice from bonding with the road surface. Therefore, salt vehicles are used on primary streets on a regular basis during inclement weather.
When snow accumulation is over 6 cm, plows will then be deployed to clear snow off the roads. The Town's goal is to keep major routes as bare as possible (i.e. down to the hard pavement).
Please note that Regional roads such as Davis Drive, Mulock Drive, Bayview Avenue, Leslie Street and Yonge Street are maintained by York Region.
How do plows get around cars parked on the street?
Experience, skills and care are required to safely manoeuvre plow blades through traffic and around parked cars while ensuring streets are cleared in a timely manner. Snow removal is at its maximum when streets have little to no traffic and are cleared of parked cars. This is why the majority of snow clearing is done during the evening and overnight. After primary streets are completed, crews will tackle secondary routes.
Parked cars on the street affect snow clearing procedures. Please remember that winter parking restrictions are in effect from November 1 to April 15. Any vehicle found on any roadway between the hours of 2 and 6 a.m. will be subject to a fine as this interferes with the clearing of snow.
Plows will not be sent back to areas where cars were previously parked.
What happens during other snowfall events?
Daytime snowfalls or snowstorms and windy conditions pose challenges
that push the Town out of routine operation. For example, the Town may have to plow
during the day, including rush hour periods. It may also be necessary to plow
primary streets more than once before getting to secondary streets. As well,
there are times during a lengthy snowstorm that the Town has to pull crews off the
streets to give them the required rest period before starting up again.
What happens during freezing rain situations?
When freezing rain is forecasted patrolling, radar and weather monitoring are greatly increased. Under Reg. 239, Minimum Maintenance Standards, municipalities are required to prevent ice from forming on roadways following 24-hours of freezing rain. Crews are extremely proactive when dealing with freezing rain events. This is why salting trucks are dispatched before any precipitation has occurred to combat inclement weather conditions during freezing rain. Salting material may be re-applied to ensure the safety of our community.
Why are some streets not plowed to the pavement?
The salt applied to streets, combined with the traffic they receive, and temperature can produce bare pavement very quickly. Streets that have less traffic are more likely to have some snow. However, you will often see bare pavement where local streets border a Regional road. This is generally due to salt being tracked over by cars coming from the Regional roads.
Why do plows push snow onto my driveway?
The Town understands that this can be a frustration for residents and apologize for the inconvenience. In order to effectively plow the roads, the plows need to plow as close to the curb as possible. Doing so will help widen the road from curb to curb. During snow events, plow trucks may need to plow two or three times to complete the street.
The snow plow damaged my lawn, what do I do?
The Town makes an effort to minimize damage made by snowplows during winter maintenance. During snow events, operators face many challenges including limited lighting, visibility, pedestrians and parked cars/obstructions. Sometimes these factors can cause damage to your property.
If your lawn/property is damaged by snow clearing vehicles, please call the Town of Newmarket at 905-895-5193. A Customer Service associate will take down your name and address and forward the information to our Public Works Services team. The address will then be reviewed and tracked (with photos) for repair in the spring.
The repair process usually begins mid-April and may last until late May. The repair schedule varies due to the severity of the winter season and other weather-related damages.
If the Town of Newmarket damages other items such as curbway stops, please call the Town of Newmarket at 905-895-5193. Boulevards are owned by the Town of Newmarket and should not have any landscape features in these areas. Items damaged on boulevards are not the responsibility of the Town of Newmarket.
Who removes snow from sidewalks?
The Town of Newmarket aims to clear 100 percent of all sidewalks in Newmarket - specifically those that are greater than 122 cm in size.
Major routes with sidewalks 122 cm or less in size continue to be maintained by the Town due to the 'legacy regulation' and are facing the curb (i.e. there is no boulevard). Legacy regulation refers to sidewalks that are smaller than 122cm but will still be plowed because they are considered priority sidewalk routes that lead to business areas, the hospital and schools.
This means that standard equipment can still plow in these areas while avoiding damage to sod.
The Town will begin to plow primary sidewalks once there is more than 6 cm of snow. Secondary routes will be completed once the primaries are finished.
Residents are still asked to remove snow on sidewalks adjacent to their property in accordance to By-law 1996-38. Subdivisions that are no assumed are still asked to clear the sidewalk adjacent to their property.
Please do not park over the sidewalk
. It is a violation of the Town's parking by-law 1993-62 and you may be subject to a fine.
Learn more about our sidewalk snow clearing procedures
Does the Town clear walkways and trails in Newmarket
The Town clears snow from paved/concrete walkways that go from street to street and into parks and facilities. Walkways are considered secondary routes and are cleared of snow immediately after the completion of primary sidewalk routes.
Are there areas that the Town does not service or clear?
The following locations are not part of the Town's snow removal services:
- Unpaved park walkways and paths. Some walkways have signs posted that indicate they are not maintained in the winter and alternative routes should be found.
- Private walks, driveways and roads. These areas are the responsibility of the individual, business or corporation owning the property. For example, the owner of a townhouse complex must keep any internal roads clear of snow and ice.
- Residents and community members are reminded that Newmarket parks are not maintained for winter activities (skiing, tobogganing, skibobbing, snowboarding). Please take extra caution and use at your own risk.
What are my responsibilities as the property owner?
Property owners are responsible for clearing snow from their walkways and driveways and it makes good sense to keep these areas and steps free of ice. No one wants a family member or visitor to slip and fall. Under the highway traffic act, property owners are not allowed to deposit snow on the travelled portion of the roadway.
Other points of snow etiquette and safety to keep in mind are:
- Be a good neighbour. Lend a hand to those who may not be physically able to shovel or who may find walking to the store or bus stop too difficult because of the snow or ice.
- Keep your children safe - don't let them play in the snow piles or on the snowbanks at the side of the road.
- When clearing snow, pile it on your property, it should not be shoveled onto the sidewalk or street.
- Place your garbage containers and blue box on a cleared area, do not perch them on the top of snow piles.
- Help prevent street flooding and icing by clearing snow away from storm sewer catch basins. When the weather gets warmer and snow begins to melt, it's important that the runoff water gets into the storm sewer. If the catch basin is fully or partially covered by a build-up of snow and ice, street flooding can occur. If the temperature dips again, the street can become an ice rink.
For everyone's safety, property owners with fire hydrants fronting or abutting their property are requested to assist by keeping them visible and clear of snow.
Are my landscape features obstructing snow plowing operations?
Property owners are reminded that no objects or obstructions are allowed to be placed within the municipal road allowance. This includes items such as plants, rocks, signs, curbs, landscape features etc.
Items found on the municipal road allowance may be subject to removal at any time by the Town of Newmarket. If Town equipment is damaged due to obstructions, the property owner may be subject to a fine.
Why does a snow plow do one pass down my street, and then another one will come later to plow again?
Before and during snow events, snow trucks are dispatched initially to apply a round of salt first in the centre of the road to assist with snow melt. Salt trucks will do one pass on the street (usually on a secondary road) and more than one on primary roads. If the accumulation of snow gets close to, or reaches 6 cm, plowing operations will begin. Snow crews will plow both sides of the road and on their second pass, apply salt materials as they leave the street.
If another snow plow requires assistance during snow plowing operations, back-up trucks may be called-in as well to help. Therefore, you may see more than one or two trucks on the same street. This is to ensure that the Town maintains its service levels and to ensure streets are cleared within regulatory timeframes.