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Snow and Ice FAQs

​​​We understand that you may have many questions about snow and ice control in Lethbridge. Here are some of the more common questions we hear along with some answers.

What resources does the City have available for snow and ice control?

 

Road Maintenance (controlled by the Transportation Operations Department):
  • 6 Tandems with Sanders and Front Snow Plows
  • 3 Tandems with Sanders, Front Snow Plows and Side Wing Plows.
  • 2 Tandems with Sanders, Anti-icing Capabilities and Front Snow Plows
  • 2 - 3 Ton Single Axle Trucks with Sanders
  • 2 Graders
  • 2 Front End Loaders
  • 1 Front End Loader with Plow
  • 1 - 2 Ton Single Axle Truck with Front End Plow and Sander
  • 2 Snow Blowers

Sidewalk & Trail Maintenance (Controlled by Parks Operations):

  • 4 - 4 wheel drive mowers with broom and blade attachments
  • 1 tractor with snow blade
  • 3 truckster with snow blade
  • 2 skid steer loaders with snow bucket, brooms and blades.
  • 4 back pack snow blowers
  • 2 snow blowers
  • Various 3 ton, 1 ton, crew cab, and ½ ton trucks c/w trailers as required

*Note: Trucks to haul snow are contracted and used as/when necessary.  In addition various pieces of heavy equipment with operators are available on a contractual basis.  A tender is prepared yearly by the Public Operations Account Support Technician of available contractors with various equipment.

What order does the City plow, sand and salt streets? 

The City plows, sands and salts roads based on a priority system. Priority 1 routes are tended to first. The Priority 1 plowing and sanding routes in Lethbridge are:

  • Whoop-Up Drive
  • University Drive
  • Bridge Drive
  • Mayor Magrath Drive
  • Scenic Drive
  • 26th Avenue North
  • 28th Street North
  • Brewery Hill
  • 5th Avenue North (from Highway 3 to Stafford Drive)

Priority 1 routes are determined based on the roads incline, grade and traffic volume. Priority 1 routes will be plowed and sanded/salted within 24 hours of a snowfall ending. All efforts will stay on Priority 1 routes until it has stopped snowing and they are cleared. 

 

Additional Service Levels:

The City of Lethbridge has different Priority 2 and 3 routes for plowing and sanding/salting. Please click here to view our winter road maintenance map to view the Priority 2 and 3 plowing and sanding/salting routes. 

Priority 2 - Remaining arterials and designated collectors
Service Level -  complete ice control and snow plowing within 24 hours of Priority 1 completion
 
Priority 3 - Remaining collectors, controlled intersections (stops and yields) and bus routes
Service Level - complete ice control and snow plowing within 24 hours of Priority 2 completion
 
Priority 4 - All other City controlled roadways and laneways
Service Level - Typically the City does not plow residential roads unless it is impassible for emergency vehicles and the general public with properly equipped vehicles.

With each new event, snow clearing begins with priority 1 areas. If frequent events occur, there may be delays in the clearing of lesser priorities.

When a winter warning is in effect does the City sand and salt before it starts to snow?

Yes, City crews sand and salt roads prior to snowfall warnings. This is done based on the Priority Routes Map.
 

When will the speed limit on Whoop-Up Drive be reduced?

Every winter we have noticed a number of collisions on Whoop-Up Drive bridge decks and bridge approaches. Lowering the speed limit on Whoop-Up Drive between Scenic Drive and University Drive has potential of reducing collisions and improving traffic safety. 

Variable speed limit signs are installed on Whoop-Up Drive. The purpose of these signs is to lower the speed limit during extreme winter weather or road work events.

We will only reduce the speed limit to 60 km/h (from the default speed limit of 90 km/h) to avoid confusion. Decisions to change the speed limit will be related to extreme weather and road surface conditions that could adversely affect traffic safety.

When will my residential street be plowed?

The City typically does not plow residential roads unless it is impassible for emergency vehicles and the general public with properly equipped vehicles.

What level of priority are roads that schools are on?

Most schools are on a Priority 2 or 3 route (because they are typically on roads with bus routes) but the priority level will depend on where the school is located. Click here to view our winter road maintenance map.

What level of priority are roads that the hospital is on?

10th Avenue South and 9th Avenue South by the hospital are both Priority 2 routes which means they are worked on after Priority 1 routes are complete. 17th Street South and 19th Street South between 9th and 10th Avenue are Priority 3 routes and will be worked on after the Priority 2 routes are complete. In the case of heave snowfall, snow crews will ensure emergency vehicles have unimpeded access to the hospital.

When does the City work on snow and ice control?

Dedicated staff are on a winter storm watch shifts providing 24 hour coverage – 7 days per week. Shifts are scheduled for maximum maintenance coverage throughout the winter months.

When does the City clear windrows from the middle of streets?

Snow Removal is based on a priority system and can be found on our interactive map here. Typically the downtown core is Priority 1 for snow removal.

Does the City use snow fences to reduce drifting and blowing snow?

Yes, the City of Lethbridge does install snow fences to reduce drifting and blowing snow. In 2014 the City installed 17 kms of snow fences. Click here for more information about the City's snow fence program.

Where does unused snow removal budget go?

Any unused snow removal funds from the previous year’s operating budget flow into the Municipal Revenue Stabilization Reserve (MRSR).  In the case of a heavy snow year, if the City exhausts it’s yearly budget for snow removal, it will use the funds in this reserve.

Who is responsible for snow removal in parking lots?

All parking lots are the responsibility of the property owner. This includes parking lots owned by the school boards, hospital and other businesses. City owned parking lots are done under contract.

Who is responsible for snow removal on sidewalks?

The City of Lethbridge asks home owners to clear any snow, ice or other debris which has been deposited on the sidewalk next to their property within 24 hours. TIP: Please help us keep winter roads in your neighbourhood safer by piling snow from your driveway or sidewalk onto your property or boulevard, not on the road. Need sand/salt for an icy sidewalk? The City provides sand free of charge for residents - click here for details.

The City of Lethbridge is responsible for clearing approximately 187 km of sidewalks and pathways within the city. Please click here for a map of sidewalks and pathways that the City clears. These sidewalks and pathways are cleared based according to priority. The priority categories are:

Priority 1 - cleared within 24 hours after a normal snow event (City owned buildings)

Priority 2 -  cleared within 48 hours after a normal snow event (School Grounds and Regional Parks)

Priority 3 - cleared within 72 hours after a normal snow event (Regional Trails and Community Core Parks)

Priority 4 - cleared within 96 hours after a normal snow event (Only sidewalks adjacent roadsides abutting Utility Walkways and Neighborhood/Pocket Parks)​

With each new event, snow clearing begins with priority 1 areas. If frequent events occur, there may be delays in the clearing of lesser priorities.

Our operators are courteous and safety minded but we would like to remind the public to help us by staying clear of snow removal equipment as winter conditions bring poor visibility.