Snow and Ice Control Program
Snow and Ice Control
The City of Abbotsford maintains and manages approximately 910 km of paved roadways. Severe weather conditions can seriously impact the City from a social, environmental and economic perspective with an unsafe road network. In order to provide an effective and efficient response that aligns with Council’s strategic vision, a Council Policy was developed in which the roads have been classified into three priorities:
- First Priority Roadways: includes approximately 350 kilometers of all high volume and strategic arterial and collector roads which includes transit routes, school zones and major access to hillside areas.
- Second Priority Roadways: includes approximately 170 kilometers of the remaining arterial, hillside and collector routes.
- Third Priority Roadways: includes the remaining approximately 390 kilometers of roadways, usually local roadways, not identified as first and second priority.
First priority roads are maintained until conditions are under control and safe, subject to worker and equipment availability and weather. Once these roads are cleared, resources are redirected to second priority routes and then to third priority routes.
View the snow clearing priority route details online or in PDF format.
Council Policy C016
provides detailed information regarding the City's Snow and Ice Control program.
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Before the Weather Changes
In preparation of winter conditions, training sessions are held for public works staff to prepare them for snow conditions. The equipment resources are also prepared, including installation of snow plowing accessories, to ensure everything is operational for winter conditions. The sand and salt is stocked at four storage sheds located strategically throughout the City for an efficient response time. The anti-ice solution (sodium chloride) production and storage tanks are inspected and prepared for potential winter conditions.
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During Winter Conditions
The City of Abbotsford takes a pro-active approach to snow and ice control. Our Roads staff monitors weather forecasts, road conditions and pavement sensor readings and deploys resources to apply a surface treatment in three phases starting with priority 1 and moving on to priority 2 and priority 3, if necessary.
- Phase 1 - Anti-icing (Sodium Chloride) Application: This is a proactive phase that involves the application of liquid sodium chloride solution before any snow has fallen or frost/ice has formed. The liquid is sprayed, using tanks and sprayers on the back of tandem trucks, on the road surface to reduce the opportunity for snow or ice to create a bond with the cold asphalt surface. This increases the effectiveness of snow plowing (Phase 3), if necessary, due to continuation of snow and ice conditions.
- Phase 2 – Sanding and Salting Application: This is a responsive phase where a sand and salt mixture, pre-wetted with a sodium chloride solution, is spread mechanically, using sand/salt spreaders on the back of tandem trucks, directly on the road surface during and after a snowfall. This significantly improves traction on roadways and helps melt the snow and ice.
- Phase 3: Snow Plowing: This is also a responsive phase and is only activated once enough snow has accumulated on the roadways. The snow is cleared off the roadways by tandem trucks outfitted with belly plows and/or front plows. The tandem trucks apply a sand and salt mixture while plowing to improve traction and help melt the snow and ice.
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Monitoring the Roads
Weather camera’s and pavement sensors help staff to monitor the road conditions. Residents can also view the cameras and pavement sensor data from the six key locations in the City to assess winter road conditions before they hit the road. The information on these sites is live and updated every 15 minutes.
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