Snow Clearing

Snow Clearing 

We work diligently to keep our streets safe with annual snow clearing budget of approximately $1.62 million. Below outlines how we prioritize and manage snow clearing on city streets, sidewalks, and municipal properties.

City Streets

Arterial Roads

Within 4 Hours 

Roads like Fortune Drive, Columbia Street, and the Summit Connector carry the highest volume of traffic and are the first to receive attention. Our goal is to maintain bare wheel paths in one lane as long as possible during snow events and to regain bare wheel paths within 4 hours of the completion of a snow event.

Collectors and Bus Routes

Within 16 Hours 

Dallas Drive, Springhill Drive, and Ord Road are examples of roads that receive second priority during and after snow events. Our goal is to maintain bare wheel paths in one lane as long as possible during a snow event and address these roads within 16 hours of the end of a snowfall. 

Residential Streets

Within 36 Hours 

Our goal is to sand or plow residential streets as necessary within 36 hours of the end of a snowfall. Residential streets are not returned to a bare pavement condition. As long as snow continues to fall, City crews will continue to address arterial roads for emergency vehicles and most traffic before moving onto the lower priority roads. 

Within each of the three categories above, priority will be given to hills over level streets.

Road Classification Map

Sidewalks

City crews try to plow snow off roadways without placing it onto sidewalks, but this still sometimes happens.

The City of Kamloops Road Right-Of-Way Bylaw requires that every owner or occupier of private property maintain all sidewalks adjacent to their property, to ensure sidewalks are free of accumulated snow and ice.

In residential areas, it is required that snow and ice be removed each day in a timely manner after a snow fall. All other properties, including commercial properties, must have any accumulated snow and ice removed from the sidewalks before 10:00 am of every day except Sunday.

The cooperation of property owners/occupiers is appreciated to maintain and promote safe and accessible sidewalks, free of ice and snow for pedestrian travel during winter months.

For further information on snow and ice removal requirements in the areas noted, please call: 

Downtown business area: 250-828-3406 

All other areas outside of downtown: 250-828-3409

City Properties

Kamloops Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services staff are responsible for maintaining snow and ice control on municipal properties. Municipal properties consist of public buildings, parks, community centres, and walkways.

Priorities for snow and ice control on municipal properties is governed by Council Policy PRS-13.

Frequently Asked Questions
How many vehicles and operators does the City have for snow and ice control?

Monday to Friday (24-hour coverage): three 8-hour shifts of ten people with the ability to add staff from previous and upcoming shifts as required. Weekends: two 12-hour shifts of seven or eight people on standby who are expected to be at the Public Works Centre within 30 minutes of the initial call.

The City utilizes the following equipment for snow and ice control:

  • 14 sand trucks with blades
  • 2 liquid dispersal trucks
  • 2 graders
  • 2 sidewalk plows
  • 3 loaders (attachments include 3 buckets, 2 loader plows and 1 snowblower) 
In heavy snowfall do you focus more on one zone over another?

If snow is falling evenly throughout the City, personnel are deployed evenly to work on their zone according to the priorities outlined above. If the storm is concentrated in one zone of the City and it is not snowing elsewhere, extra manpower can be used where it is most needed.

How do you forecast and prepare for snowfall and/or icy conditions?

The City operates four Road Weather Information System (RWIS) stations that include monitoring equipment for air temperature, humidity, wind direction and speed, and precipitation gauges. Each site also has several road sensor locations (City Centre, Aberdeen, Barnhartvale, and Westsyde) that monitor pavement temperature and wetness. All of the information gathered is analyzed in conjunction with weather forecasts to determine when and how to respond to upcoming freezing temperatures or the arrival of snow. Forecasting information is provided by a company specializing in this service. When a winter weather event is approaching, the company will call with advance warning prior to the arrival of the storm.

What is the wet substance that the trucks spray on the pavement before it snows?

This is an anti-icing agent called magnesium chloride. The material is applied in advance of a snowstorm and helps prevent the compacted snow from bonding to the road. It is also used to prepare wet sand and salt before they are applied, which makes these materials stick to the road better in order to do their job.

I live on a cul-de-sac, and our street always seems to be the last one cleared. Why is that?

Because of their shape and varying size, cul-de-sacs require specialized procedures and equipment that is not readily available during a snowfall. The City contains well over 300 cul-de-sacs, and to adequately treat these, additional resources would be required.

When it snows for a long period of time, do you repeat clearing the priority areas before moving on to lower priorities?

Yes, the first priority is to keep the arterial roads open so that most traffic and emergency vehicles can move as needed. 

I cannot handle the heavy snow load at the end of my driveway or the load that is pushed onto my sidewalk. What is my responsibility for snow removal, and who can help me clear this?

The crews strive to plow the snow off the travelled portion of the road and into the gutter and not place it on the adjacent sidewalk. Unfortunately, the reality is that this sometimes happens, especially during a very heavy snowfall. It is the responsibility of homeowners to clear the snow off the sidewalk adjacent to their property and to clear the windrow of snow at the end of their driveway.

My neighbour pushes the snow onto the street, which makes driving slippery. What can be done about this?

It is against City bylaws to take the snow from your driveway and push it onto the public portion of the roadway. The extra piles of snow can create a driving hazard for passing motorists. Most people understand the rationale for this and comply once informed. For those citizens that continue to create this hazardous situation, a call to the Bylaw Services office at 250-828-3409 may be required.

What can residents do to help?

Remove obstructions from the road that inhibit the plows from being able to do their job such as parked cars and basketball hoops. Do not push the snow from your driveway onto the road. As indicated above, it creates a hazardous situation for passing motorists, and when the snowplow does come around, the extra snow is going to end up in front of your driveway again. Pile snow on your property. On garbage collection day, provide a clear path to your refuse container. This will help avoid lifting injuries for the collectors.

What can businesses do to help?

Keep the sidewalks in front of their properties cleared of snow and ice.

Does the City clear sidewalks or other public walkways?

It is the responsibility of property owners to clear snow from the sidewalk(s) adjacent to their property. The City dispatches plows to clear the sidewalks adjacent to most multi-lane arterial roads in the city. Crews will begin working on City-maintained sidewalks as soon as the snow starts falling and continue plowing as long as necessary.

The Parks and Civic Facilities Division clears snow from the sidewalks adjacent to any City-owned properties, such as community centres, swimming pools, arenas, parking lots, parkades, pedestrian overpasses, and at the wheelchair crossing ramps in the downtown and Tranquille business areas after the snow accumulation reaches 2.5 cm (1 in.). Some walkways that link neighbourhoods are maintained, but only after the first priorities are completed and as time and manpower permit.

For a complete list of the facilities maintained by the Parks and Civic Facilities Division, please call 250-828-3551.

What precautions can the elderly and infirm take when venturing outside in icy or snowy conditions?
  • Try to avoid areas of accumulated snow and ice until they have been treated.
  • Ask your health professional or medical supply store about walking aids or hip protectors.
  • Try the Snow Angels program if you need assistance with shovelling. 
What if my street is missed?

Please call 250-828-3461 so that we can respond appropriately; however, please note that roads are sanded or plowed as necessary within 36 hours of the cessation of the storm.

Why would a truck plow drive with its blade up? If they are going by why wouldn’t they plow?

This is operator judgment. Each driver has a 'zone' they are responsible for, and they know the roads well and take pride in their work. If there are bumps in the road that would cause undue wear and tear on equipment and/or the asphalt, they will lift the blade in those sections. If built-up snow won't come off the road, it could cause damage to the equipment. They generally will have the sander on in these cases.

Why doesn’t the City plow leaving the windrow in the centre of the lane, as opposed to the sides?

This is not a regular practice in Kamloops, but it has been done very occasionally in a heavy snowfall. With this technique the snow must be collected and hauled. Currently all snow is hauled back to the Public Works Yard, which fills up quickly. Hauling snow costs approximately $2,000 per hour. 

How is the snow clearing budget determined?

We budget for snow clearing on a 3-year average based on the previous 3 years. We have a reserve that accumulates when we're under, and covers us in years we go over. The budget has not changed significantly from year to year.

Why can't the City remove the windrows they leave in my driveway? Or not leave them in the first place?

With the high number of driveways within the city, it would be very costly to add additional people and equipment to perform this service. 

Windrow gates (which prevent plows from piling snow up at driveways) are most commonly found as attachments for graders - we use truck plows, not graders. These gates are also challenging in residential neighbourhoods where driveways are close together - they work best in more rural settings. Our Streets department is researching gate attachments to work with our truck plows. 

When shoveling 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 are exiting your driveway and the plows will not drag shoveled snow back across your driveway entrance.

 

Do Your Part

It is the responsibility of homeowners to clear snow off sidewalks adjacent to their property, and to clear the windrow at the end of their driveway. 

Remember to pile the snow on the left side of your driveway (facing the property) when clearing it of snow. This allows you to see any oncoming traffic as you back out and, when our plows go by, they won't drag your shovelled piles of snow back into your driveway.

The placing of snow on the travelled portion of the roadway contravenes the City's Road Right-Of-Way Bylaw. This regulation helps to ensure that potentially dangerous situations for motorists are avoided and the roadway is kept clear for emergency vehicles. 

Service Request

Place a service request regarding snow clearing, street signs or street lights, and other road concerns with our online tool:

Service Request