We work diligently to keep our streets safe with annual snow clearing budget of approximately $1.9 million. Below outlines how we prioritize and manage snow clearing on city streets, sidewalks, and municipal properties.
Collectors and Bus Routes
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 Civic Operations 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 standard buckets, 2 "V" plow buckets, 2 snowblowers attachments)
- 1 front end "V" plow pick up truck.
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.
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.
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.
Because of their shape and varying size, cul-de-sacs require specialized procedures and equipment that is not readily available during a snowfall, so they may not be attended to right away. The City maintains more than 500 cul-de-sacs.
Yes, the first priority is to keep the arterial roads open so that most traffic and emergency vehicles can move as needed.
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.
If you do require assistance in shoveling your property, Snow Angels is a program where neighbourhood-based volunteers are paired with seniors or residents with limited mobility who need snow removed from their pathways, stairs, sidewalks, and driveways.
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.
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.
It is also the responsibility of the homeowner to clear any bus pads (transit stops) adjacent to their properties.
Keep the sidewalks and bus stops adjacent to their properties cleared of snow and ice.
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 Civic Operations Department 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 or view the map here.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
City roads are also constructed with a crown in the centre which allows water to flow to the curb and down into our drainage system. Plowing to the center would create tremendous amounts of ice on the roadways as the snow would thaw and freeze across the road surface as it flows into the drainage system. It would be unsafe to create windrows in the centre of the road.
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.
Snow pack is hard-packed snow on a roadway that develops very quickly as vehicles travel on snow-covered roads. It is the condition that can be expected periodically on residential roads. Snow plows are not able to scrape off snow pack, as it is usually bonded to the pavement. Although bumpy at times, vehicles typically navigate snow pack quite easily.
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.