File photo of John Parsons, London's Manager of Transportation and Roadside Operations. (Photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News)

City Plows Ready For Latest Blast Of Snow

As London is hit with another blast of snow, the city’s plows, salters, and sanders are springing into action.

Snow is expected to fall throughout the day Friday, with an accumulation of 15 cm possible by Friday night.

In an effort to ease some of the treacherous driving conditions associated with the blasting of snow, the city’s 27 salt trucks equipped with front plows and side wings have been deployed to main roads and bus routes.

“That can remove snow and then salt behind it,” said John Parsons, division manager of transportation and roadside operations at the city. “We do that to about a third of our road network. We have 3,500 lane kilometres of road, a third of that gets salted and plowed in the initial stage of a storm.”

Once the snow begins to pile up, 70 road plows are added to the street clearing effort. Plowing the white stuff off of main routes can take as long as six hours once the snow has stopped.

“Timing is everything in a storm. Certainly, if it is heavy at night, we have the ability to come in overnight when there is no traffic and no parked cars and move through it fairly quickly,” said Parsons. “However during the day when you are up against traffic and parked cars, it does extend the time for completion.”

The city’s 42 sidewalk units are also expected to be deployed throughout the day Friday.

Residential streets won’t see plows until at least 10 cm of snow has fallen. Even then, Parsons notes that, in accordance with provincial minimum standards, the snow removal fleet has 24 hours after the snow ends to clear them.

One of the big ways homeowners can assist with the snow clearing process is to avoid parking on the road.

“During the day, if there is an opportunity to have your car in the driveway, knowing that we are going to be coming around to plow, that really helps,” said Parsons.

London allocates $13.5-million a year for snow removal and winter maintenance in the city. While it is unclear how much of the budgeted funds have been used thus far, the city’s fleet of snow removal equipment has been deployed more this winter than last, said Parsons.

In addition to London, a special weather statement from Environment Canada includes Middlesex, and Oxford counties. The statement advises drivers to be prepared for poor driving conditions with snow packed roads and reduced visibility for both the morning and afternoon commute Friday. Elgin County, which could see up to 20 cm of snowfall, is under a snowfall warning.

The national weather agency is forecasting snow to continue over the weekend, but with no significant accumulation.

The Middlesex London Health Unit has the area under a Cold Weather Alert until Saturday due to overnight lows around -15 C. The bitter cold temperatures will be short-lived though, with the daytime high expected to climb above the freezing mark Tuesday.