A vehicle navigates snowy conditions on Richmond Street in London. (File photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn Media)A vehicle navigates snowy conditions on Richmond Street in London. (File photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn Media)

London plows ready for expected heavy snowfall

As the London region braces for its first significant lake effect flurries and snow squalls of the season, the City of London is reassuring its plows will be ready.

London, eastern Middlesex, and Oxford County are under a snow squall warning with Environment Canada advising between 10 to 15 centimetres of snow could fall by Tuesday night. The heaviest bands are expected to remain to the north of London, but the city will still see brief squall activity throughout the day.

"With snow in the forecast, our 24/7 response team is monitoring road conditions and ready to deploy crews and equipment,” said Joel Gillard, London's division manager of road operations. “During the winter weather, it's important to slow down, give yourself extra time to travel, and check ahead of time if your destination is open."

The city's roads crew maintains more than 3,700 kms of roadway, 1,600 kms of sidewalk, 720 cul-de-sacs, and 2,100 bus stops during the winter months. Roads are cleared in accordance with the provincial minimum maintenance standards for municipal highways regulation. It requires streets, including adjacent bike lanes, to be cleared within 24 hours, sidewalks to be cleared within 48 hours and bus stops to be cleared within 72 hours after the sidewalks are cleared following a significant snow event.

Salt is used on main roads, bus routes and core pedestrian areas to prevent snow and ice from sticking to the road. On local streets at intersections, curves, and hills sand is used to give vehicles more traction.

"Typically, crews don’t sand the entire road. Spot sanding is also used for sidewalks when there are icy and slippery conditions," city officials said in a statement.

The Thames Valley Parkway, as well as some park pathways, are cleared after 5 centimetres of snow has accumulated, 48 hours after the snowfall has ended. As park pathways are left in a snowpack condition, the city advises pedestrians and cyclists using them to check the forecast for potential snowfall and path condition changes before heading out.

Londoners who encounter unplowed roads, slippery conditions or obstructions on park paths through the winter can report the issues through the city's online service portal. Updates on the latest snow clearing efforts will be posted at london.ca/snow.

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