Snow removal & ice control

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There is currently no Snow Event Advisory in place

Snow routes are areas that are particularly challenging for snow removal due to elevation, road grade (slope), roadway width and/or contain numerous cul-de-sacs. If your neighbourhood is a snow route, you will see street signage installed in November each year. During significant snowfall, a Snow Event Advisory may be issued by the City and there will be a temporary parking ban on designated snow routes. Residents will be required to find off road parking for all vehicles.  

Even if you don't live on a snow route, we ask that residents move their vehicles off roads to accommodate swift and efficient plowing. Please be patient as crews clear roads based on priority. You can report an issue by submitting a snow/ice road service requestsnow/ice parking lot service request or a snow/ice pathways service request.

Before, during and after the snow falls, we'll be hard at work moving the snow from roads with our plows and trucks:

  • We clear & de-ice approximately 1,690 lane kilometres every snowfall
  • We have 26 snow plow trucks available to tackle the elements
  • There are 50 to 75 dedicated hearts working on snow clearing depending on the snow storm severity
  • We send out eight sidewalk plows to keep City properties clear and safe
Road clearing priority

Roads are cleared based on their priority status as per the Snow and Ice Control Policy, a policy adopted by Council that outlines the level of snow removal service we provide during snow and ice events. The document details all aspects of snow control including street priorities, plowing, salting, sanding, de-icing and sidewalk clearing. Highway 97 (Harvey Avenue) and Highway 33 are maintained by the Provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

FIND OUT YOUR ROAD'S PRIORITY STATUS

Priority levels

Sanding and plowing priorities are based on the volumes and types of traffic and the steepness of the terrain.

Priority One:

  • Arterial roads such as Gordon Drive, Springfield Road and Lakeshore Road
  • Roads with an average daily vehicle count of more than 15,000    
  • Main routes from a neighbourhood
  • Plow/sanding expectation: within eight hours of a snow storm ending

Priority Two to Four roads will not be serviced until service levels of Priority One roads are achieved. If another storm occurs prior to completion of Priority Two to Four roads, attention will shift back to Priority One roads.

Priority Two:

  • Collector roads: steep hills, sharp curves, school zones, school and transit bus routes such as Richter Street, Ethel Street south of Springfield and the Black Mountain area
  • Roads with an average daily vehicle count of more than 5,000 but less than 15,000
  • Grades more than 10 per cent
  • Bus routes, school zones, town centres
  • Emergency vehicle stations
  • Plow/sanding expectation: within 12 hours of a snow storm ending

Priority Three includes all other local roads and residential streets that are flat or have a slight grade.

  • Plow/sanding expectation: within 48 hours. of a snow storm ending

Priority Four is all other residential laneways that provide access to properties.

  • Plow/sanding expectation: during regular working hours
Bus stop & bicycle route plowing

Bus stops are plowed immediately following the road plowing.

While roadway bike lanes are not cleared after a snowfall, our active transportation routes are plowed within 24 hours of the end of a storm as set out by the Snow and Ice Control Policy. Gravel pathways will not be cleared.  

To view which active transportation routes are cleared of snow, please view the Active by Nature map and click on the “Snow-Plowed Bicycle Paths” layer under “Turn Map Layer On/Off.”

Why is snow pushed toward the centre in the downtown area?

In the downtown area, there aren’t enough locations where large amounts of snow can be placed without delaying traffic. The snow is plowed to the centre of the street where it can be picked up and hauled away during the night shift hours.

Driveway & sidewalk snow removal

Shoveling snow... it's one of the things that make us Canadian! As a community we all need to do our part when the snow falls. We’re responsible for clearing snow from sidewalks that are on City property. Traffic Bylaw #8120, Section 2.5.1 requires the owners or occupiers of a property to remove snow and ice from the sidewalks bordering their property within 24 hours. We encourage you to lend a helping hand to neighbours by being a Snow Angel.

Please don’t shovel snow onto the roadway because it creates a potentially dangerous situation for motorists. Pushing snow onto the road surface is a punishable offence under Traffic Bylaw #8120, Section 2.5.3 and you could be subject to a $50 fine. You could be held liable if an accident was caused by the buildup of snow.

You can report a sidewalk issue by submitting a snow/ice sidewalk service request.

Why can't the City remove the snow they put in my driveway entrance?

With approximately 39,000 driveways (residential units that include single family dwellings, duplexes and non-apartment style row houses) in Kelowna, it would be very costly to add additional people and equipment to perform this service. 

When shovelling your driveway, always pile the snow on the left side of the driveway (when facing the property) - this will give you a better line of vision as you’re exiting your driveway and the plows will not drag shovelled snow back across your driveway entrance.

Snow removal services for seniors or those with mobility challenges

Residents are encouraged to make snow removal arrangements prior to the start of the winter season.

  • Snow Angels - Ask a neighbour, friends or family to help out. You can nominate them to win prizes through the Snow Angels program.
  • Community groups - Belong to a community group? Ask other members for assistance or suggestions, or see if you can use their bulletin board or newsletter to post that you’re searching for someone to help.
  • Snow removal service provider - Search the phone book, newspaper or online for a residential snow removal service provider. Residents are encouraged to do their due diligence and interview and select the snow removal provider that meets their needs.
Where to place waste & recycling carts during winter months

As per the Regional District of Central Okanagan website:

  • Find or clear an unobstructed site to put your carts out for collection. It's the responsibility of the resident to clear appropriate space at the curb/roadway in front of their property for placement of carts.
  • Put carts as close as possible to the street, without obstructing the street, sidewalk or bike lane. Placing your carts on either side of your driveway often allows for greater ease for the collection trucks and you.
  • Keep carts off the travelled portion of the roadway so they’re not interfering with snowplows. Don’t place carts in a location where the snow plow will hit them.
  • The cart should be no closer than three feet from any obstacle, parked vehicle or other cart; an arm's length spacing is required between each cart. When considering cart placement, it's important to note that the automated arm on the collection truck can only reach a maximum of eight feet from the truck, and up to one foot off the ground.
  • Don’t place carts behind or on top of snow banks
  • Please have your carts out for collection by 7 am on your collection day. Avoid placing your carts out the night before collection and bring them away from the road as soon as possible to avoid interfering with snow plows that are often running in the very late or early morning hours to clear our roadways.
  • Clear your cart of snow and ice to ensure the lid opens when the cart is tipped into the truck

General safety: as the waste collection carts are equipped with wheels, please use extra caution when wheeling them in snowy and icy conditions

Ice control methods

During icy periods, we use sand on all sections of the road. In some circumstances sanding is restricted to areas where it’s needed most such as stop signs, curves, hills and school zones due to the high cost and the damage it can inflict on vehicles. Winter sand also contributes to very poor air quality in the spring.

When the forecast calls for a greater than 70 per cent chance of snow, or when the temperatures mean icy roads could develop, we apply liquid calcium chloride to some of the main arterial roads and hillsides; this liquid prevents snow from bonding to the road surface and makes it easier to plow the roads clear. As we only have two trucks capable of carrying liquids, it’s not possible to do all roads.

Depending on temperatures and the accumulation levels of snow and ice, a salt-brine solution may also be used in combination with sand. However, we pride ourselves on being environmentally aware – the anti-icing substance we use combined with Road Weather Information System means that the amount of salt used throughout the winter is minimal.

Size of sand particles

In order for sand to be effective, it must be large enough to provide tire traction. If the sand is too fine, it will blow off the road surface before it has a chance to become embedded in the snow and ice. If the grains are too large, they can cause considerable damage to vehicles and windshields. To help the sand stick to ice, we wet the sand with a chloride solution.

Can we request not to have sanding in our neighbourhood?

No. We have a legal obligation to provide the safest driving conditions possible to all residents, on all public streets.

Road Weather Information System

The Road Weather Information System (RWIS) provides up-to-date information from sensors placed in certain roads throughout the city. These sensors reveal surface and sub-surface temperatures, humidity levels, ambient air temperature and the percentage of anti-icing treatment left on the road. All this information is used to determine what treatment roads require.

We use an anti-icing substance consisting of a calcium chloride solution that is sprayed onto the road surface. This substance stops ice from forming on the roads and also prevents snow and ice from bonding with the road surface, making it easier to remove. We attempt to apply this substance to roadways before a storm.

All winter staff attend a snow and ice training course each year and are certified to operate various pieces of equipment.

All snow removal and ice control preparation is scheduled to be completed by Nov. 1 of each year.

Snow routes

Snow routes have been established in several areas in Kelowna: Academy Way, Black Mountain, Clifton/Magic Estates/Wilden, Dilworth Mountain, Kirschner Mountain, McKinley Beach and areas in the South Mission. During a significant snow event, a snow advisory will be issued and there will be a temporary parking ban on snow route roads. Areas designated as snow routes will not be given any special consideration over other streets, which are cleared by their priority classification.

Learn more about snow routes