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Winter Control Operations - FAQ's

The Town of Petawawa has established a level of service that is appropriate for winter control operations for municipal roads, sidewalks, and parking lots, and to allocate the appropriate budget and resources that are needed to provide that level of service.

As a minimum, the Town of Petawawa has adopted through By-Law (1150/17) Ontario Regulation 239/02 titled “Minimum maintenance Standards” as a baseline for winter control operations.

The Town will ensure that roadways are maintained in such a manner as to minimize economic loss to the community, prevent or reduce accident and injury, and facilitate access for emergencies by the emergency responders and police service.

The Town acknowledges that there may be times, when due to the severity of a particular winter event, the level of service may not be achieved within the usual timeframe. Under such circumstances the Town will issue a “Significant Weather Event”. (Ont. Reg. 239/02 section 16.9) The Town will endeavour to recover winter maintenance operations in accordance with the winter control policy as soon as practicable.

By-law 1421-21 Winter Control Policy

snow plow, town plow, winter image

Winter Control - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Which roads are Town roads and which are County roads?

The County of Renfrew maintains the following arterial routes that run within Town of Petawawa boundaries:

  • County Road 16 - Victoria Street from Petawawa Boulevard to Laurentian Drive
  • County Road 25 - Laurentian Drive
  • County Road 26 - Doran Road
  • County Road 37 - Murphy Road from Petawawa Boulevard to Highway 417
  • County Road 51 - Petawawa Boulevard
  • County Road 55 - Paquette Road 

County Maintenance consists of snow plowing and salting/sanding of roads, road patching, line painting, sign maintenance, and spring street sweeping.

Town of Petawawa staff will remove snowbanks from certain County roads, and will also maintain sidewalks running adjacent to County roads.

Which roads are plowed first, and how is that decided?

Town roads are designated as secondary streets and residential streets. Secondary streets are linked to County roads, and may include school zones. These streets are cleared sooner than residential streets.

Examples of secondary streets are:

  • Airport Road
  • Black Bay Road
  • Civic Centre Road including Leeder Lane
  • Golf Course Road
  • Herman Street
  • Mohns Avenue
  • Portage Road

Residential streets are built up areas with high concentration of homes. Examples of residential streets are:

  • Country Lane
  • East Street
  • Fairway Drive
  • Hoffman Street
  • Riverstone Trail
  • Selkirk Street

Clearing the Town of Petawawa’s 119 kilometers of road requires planning and prioritization to make sure the most road users can have clearer roads in the shortest possible time.

Each road is part of a predetermined route to ensure maximum efficiency of Town staff and fleet resources.

Plow routes are typically assigned to one snow clearing unit. Town staff have a detailed list of streets in their “route” to help ensure that all streets are cleared.  All our snow clearing units are tracked using a global positioning system.

The Town of Petawawa’s winter fleet consists of six (6) plow units with spreader systems, two (2) loaders with plow attachments, and five (5) sidewalk tractors.


Who determines which streets get plowed first?

The Town of Petawawa has adopted Regulation 239/02 which is part of the Municipal Act.  The regulation lays out maintenance standards for road segments based on traffic counts.  Roads are categorized into five main classes.  

Class 1, 2, and 3: first priority roads consist of primary (arterial) and secondary routes.

Class 4 and 5: less priority roads consist of residential streets, cul-de-sacs, and gravel roads.

When are sidewalks cleared of snow and ice?

Typically, sidewalk winter control operations start an hour or two after road plowing commences. The Town sidewalk network consists of 44 kilometres of concrete or asphalt sidewalks and pathways.  Town staff can typically clear all sidewalks in one 8-hour shift; if all machines are out, no mechanical issues occur, and if we receive less than 10 centimetres of snowfall. Larger snowfalls of greater than 10 cm take longer to clear.

Sidewalk tractors are not the same as a road plow. A sidewalk plow will scrape most of the ice and snow off a sidewalk.

When the snow banks get too high, staff use snow blower attachments. The snow blowers are designed to leave a thin layer of snow, and they slide on the snow, rather than dragging on bare concrete.

Sidewalk tractors apply a mix of salt and sand to assist with traction and also to loosen up frozen snow and ice.

It is very important to understand that a sidewalk does not “bare off” like an asphalt roadway. In some cold stretches of winter, it is not uncommon to have snow covered sidewalks for a few weeks until the weather warms and allows staff to scrape off the buildup of snow and ice.

When is salt and sand used on roads?

Salt use is required to prevent the formation of ice, or to melt existing ice and snow.  It is spread only on paved roads.  Town plow trucks use modern spreader technology to disperse salt at the proper time, and in the proper quantity, depending upon conditions in an effort to control usage.

Sand is used on snow packed and gravel streets, or when temperatures fall below minus 15 which makes salt ineffective.

Does the municipality come back to remove snow its plows have dumped in my driveway?

Owners and/or occupants of residential and business properties are responsible for keeping driveways clear down to the street.  Because street plowing operations push snow from the road to the road side, this does fill in driveways.  Unfortunately, the municipality does not have the resources to come back to remove snow left by its plows at the end of the driveway.

How come the plow damages my sod and when is it going to be repaired?

Sod damage is the result of two factors:

  1. The plow operator may have difficulty finding the sidewalk or the edge of the road under a blanket of snow; or

  1. If the ground is not frozen before the first snowfall.

Once the plows have been out a few times and the sidewalk units have cleared their respective sidewalk routes further damage is minimal.  If the sod was damaged during the first passes of the season, then the damage may not be discovered until the snow melts.  Homeowners are encouraged to repair plow damage to their properties, since Town staff usually do not repair damage to sod until late May when the winter season is over and staff are available for this work.

Is it okay to push snow onto the roadway or to the boulevard area across the street?

Under the Highway Traffic Act, placing snow or ice on a roadway is prohibited.  Residents are to keep snow pushed by the plows on their property.

What if I am unable to clear the snow from my property because of age or disability?

Unfortunately, snow removal services for seniors and individuals with disabilities are not available from municipal crews.  You may be able to get assistance from a family member, a friend or a neighbour.  There are also a number of private snow clearing firms who also provide this service.

The snow bank at the corner is too high and I cannot see oncoming traffic. What can be done?

Every attempt is made to keep snow banks at corners to a minimum.  Special concerns should be directed to the Public Works Department at 613-687-5536 Ext. 2301

What can I do to help Town staff?

Be patient. In heavy snowfalls it takes us longer to get all our streets and sidewalks cleared.

Be a good neighbour. Help those who may not be able to shovel their driveways.

Don’t park on the street during a snowfall – or immediately following a snowfall.  Parked cars are obstacles that slow down plowing operations.  Contravention of the Parking By-law 257/2003, Section 2.8, Snow Clearing/Removal-Parking-Seasonal Restrictions; your vehicle may be ticketed or towed.

Keep garbage cans and recycling bins back in your driveway 5-6 feet from road edge so that plows can efficiently clear roadways.  And please keep garbage cans and recycling bins off the sidewalks.