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Toronto budgets $94M to clear roads, sidewalks this winter

Last Updated Nov 23, 2016 at 5:38 pm EDT

A snowplow on a street in Toronto on Jan. 12, 2016. CITYNEWS/Bertram Dandy.

We’ve only had a dusting of snow so far this year, but with winter around the corner, Toronto is gearing up for the massive task of clearing the city’s roads and sidewalks.

Cold weather and rapid swings between thawing and freezing can also cause watermain breaks, Public Works Chair Coun. Jaye Robinson said on Wednesday.

“We never know exactly what winter holds for us, but we’re prepared with a comprehensive plan to tackle the challenges,” she said.

“And, as always, we have a full complement of winter operations equipment including about 600 snow plows, 300 sidewalk plows and 200 salt trucks to help keep the roads and sidewalks safe and passable during the winter season.”

The City’s priority is to clear main roads for emergency and TTC vehicles. After that, crews will clear local roads by 14 and 16 hours after the storm ends if the snow reaches at least eight centimetres.

This winter, the City also plans to plow and salt key bike lanes and cycle tracks downtown.

Residents can help with snow-clearing efforts by not pushing snow back onto the road, avoiding parking on city streets and taking public transit.

By the numbers

  • Number of snow plows: 600
  • Number of sidewalk plows: 300
  • Number of salt trucks: 200
  • Budget: $94 million, up from $84 million last year. (The City saved $2 million because of the mild winter.)
  • Distance and number of streets to clear: 5,600 kilometres of roads, 6,000 kilometres of sidewalks and 9,500 streets
  • Fine for not clearing your sidewalk: $125

The City says residents should call 311 to report watermain breaks.

Starting Dec. 1, residents can check the City of Toronto’s real-time snow plow site, PlowTO.