The Roads and Construction Department of the Engineering and Public Works Division has the responsibility of maintaining the streets and roads of Richmond in all weather situations. During the winter months, ice and snow removal requires additional maintenance. During these periods, the department ensures all major roads are cleared and sanded so that emergency vehicles (ambulance, fire trucks and police), public transit and private vehicles are able to travel. The aim is to accomplish this task most cost-effectively while still maintaining a high level of service to the public.
Everything You Wanted To Know About Snow Clearing in Richmond
How many trucks does the City of Richmond use?
The City can deploy up to 11 large trucks during a storm event, to clear 316 km of designated routes. During a storm, crews work around the clock, driving, planning and dispatching, and maintaining equipment.
Why is salt used?
Salt is used as the principal de-icer because it is the most readily available and most cost effective. The primary type used is rock salt mined from the earth. When salt is applied to ice and snow, it creates a brine solution that has a lower freezing temperature than the temperature of the surrounding ice. Salt alone becomes ineffective after –6°C and sand is added to the mix.
What are the sanding/salting/plowing priorities?
The City’s primary responsibility is public safety with the first priority for plowing and sanding all major (or "arterials") section line roads and bus routes to facilitate the travel of emergency vehicles and public transportation. The second priority is industrial roadways during business days and main collector roads that run through major subdivisions. Third priority routes include designated collector roads and roads of local significance. As noted in the Snow Response Route Map, third priority routes are only done after first and second priority routes are cleared. Smaller roads in subdivisions are not part of the designated snow clearing routes.
What about sidewalks?
The City clears the parking lots and walkways of all civic facilities, such as community centres. It is the responsibility of the owner or occupier of all residential (single and multi-family), industrial and commercial property to remove all snow and ice from the sidewalk, for a distance that coincides with the property line, by 10:00am every day (including Sunday) per City's Traffic Control and Regulation Bylaw 5870.
What are the hours of work for the sanding/salting/plowing crews?
During a storm event, crews begin working around the clock in two shifts, sometimes up to 14 hours a day. When a snowfall with significant accumulation is forecast, crews head out early to salt the roads, which helps prevent ice from building up. At the end of a snow event, crews will resume their regular winter schedule:
Personnel are on 24-hour standby, 7 days a week.
Should the need arise, a full complement of salting and plowing crews can be mustered and dispatched in approximately 90 minutes.
What can I do to help?
- Drive carefully and exercise good driving habits: slow down, and leave a little extra room between you and the vehicle in front.
- Ensure your vehicle is equipped with good snow tires that are properly inflated, window wipers are effective, window washer fluid is topped up, headlights, tail lights and stop lights are clean, clear of snow and in working order.
- Clear windows of snow and ice.
- If you don't need to go out, stay off the roads until conditions are safer, or use public transit.
- If you do need to travel by car, give yourself extra time to arrive at your destination, and proceed with caution.
- If you are walking, be aware that snow clearing equipment may be on the sidewalks. Proceed through intersections with caution and remain alert: vehicles need extra time and room to come to a complete stop.
If I want to make a suggestion on this program, whom do I address this request to?
Mail suggestions to the City of Richmond, Roads and Construction Department, 5599 Lynas Lane, Richmond, B.C. V7C 5B2 or call 604-244-1262.
For more information refer to the Winter and Severe Weather Response Section.