When it snows...

During a snowfall the City of North Bay Roads Department will perform winter control maintenance in accordance with the Provincial Maintenance Standard in efforts to prevent hazards for vehicular and pedestrian traffic alike. It is important to note however, the response time for a winter event will vary depending on how the road class. The guidelines and requirements are set out by the Ontario Minimum Maintenance Standard.


Throughout the City of North Bay, the Roads Department maintains 811 lane KM of roadway. The following are the road plowing priorities during typical winter event:

  1. Major arterial and collector roads (class 2) (e.g. Lakeshore Drive)
  2. Secondary collector roads and transit routes (class 3) (e.g. O’Brien St)
  3. Local residential, commercial areas and minor hard-surfaced rural roads (class 4 and 5) (eg. Beaver or Robinhood)

Plowing begins when there is an accumulation of 5 cm (2 inches) of snow on major arterial and collector roads. City standards specify that up to 8 cm (3 inches) of snow may be allowed to accumulate on local residential, commercial areas and minor rural roads before plowing begins.

The Provincial Standard the Roads Department is mandated to follow does not include winter maintenance of parking spaces on City streets. Maintenance of parking spaces is second in priority to road maintenance and will be completed as time permits.

Anti-icing and de-icing materials will be spread on roadways as required in accordance with the Provincial Standard prior to, during and following a winter event.


New to the Provincial Standard this year is guidelines for winter maintenance of sidewalks. All sidewalks are to be cleared 48hrs after an event where the accumulation is 8cm (3”) or greater. The following are sidewalk plowing priorities in the City during a typical winter event:

  1. Sidewalks adjacent to high-volume roadways with high pedestrian volumes
  2. Sidewalks in the downtown core, including City Hall, North Bay Transit and the Discovery Museum
  3. School areas and places of worship

It is important to note, during an event City crews will focus on “opening” sidewalks. When the event has passed, crews will then “clean-up” Transit stops, crossings and intersections. The City Roads Department will not open snow banks for pedestrians to access stores or dwellings.

Winter Parking Bylaw (By-Law 2017-55)

Commencing November 1 ending April 15, inclusive, no person shall park in the Downtown Improvement Area (DIA), between the hours of 3:00am and 6:30am.; on any block of a highway where that block includes a cul-de-sac or dead-end, between the hours of 3:00am and 8:30am.; and on any other highway or portion thereof, between the hours of 3:00am and 7:30am.
All motorists are encouraged to be mindful of posted prohibited parking areas throughout the City.

Snowplow Safety

  • Be patient and keep a safe distance (30m) behind working snow plows. If you cannot see the mirrors on the snow plow, the operator cannot see you. Snow plows often travel slowly because they are removing snow, spreading salt, sand and or applying anti-icing liquid to roadways.
  • Never pass a snow plow. Snow plows are wider than the average vehicle with large blades that extend a meter or more ahead and into the neighboring lane. Passing a snow plow could result in a collision.
  • Don’t drive beside snow plows. You risk collision as snow plows sometimes shift sideways when they are plowing packed snow or drifts.
  • Move aside. Snow plows often drive along the centerline of a roadway to remove snow. If you are approaching a snow plow from the opposite direction, shift right if conditions allow to ensure there is enough space for them to pass you safely.
  • Beware of reduced visibility. Even at reduced plowing speeds, a small amount of snow forms a cloud in the wake of a snow plow that severely restricts a driver’s visibility making passing extremely dangerous.
  • Do not pass between snow plows in tandem. On multi-lane roads snow plows often work in tandem, referred to as “echelon” plowing. Passing or weaving between these plows is dangerous. Please stay well back of echelon plows.
  • Watch for snow plows on sunny days. Snow plows and removal equipment must be out for several hours after a storm clearing shoulders and cutting back snow banks. Please look out for plows even on clear days.
  • Stay indoors when possible and reduce the risk of a collision by not traveling

Source: Ontario Road Builders Association

Snow Plowing FAQs

My residential street still has not been plowed. Why is it taking so long?

During a snow fall, the city plows its roadways in accordance with priorities and Provincial Standards. The first priority during a snowfall is to ensure all main arterial (class2) and collector roads (class 3) are clear. This means that plows may not be able to immediately clear local residential and less-travelled roads (class 4 & 5). Residential and less-travelled roads are generally cleared after 8 cm of snow accumulation and completed within 24 hours of the end of a snow fall.

Why does the snow plow fill in the end of my driveway?

Snow plows clear streets from the center of the street to the curb – sometimes leaving snow across private driveways. Unfortunately this cannot be efficiently prevented and it must be understood the boulevard area is designed for snow storage from the traveled portion of the roadway..

Why does the City leave a large pile of snow in the middle of our cul-de-sac?

To deal with heavy snowfall, cul-de-sac clearing is performed in two steps: first, the snow plow will clear the cul-de-sac to open up the roadway, then, after it has stopped snowing, the City will come back to clean up and or remove the snow when snow storage has been exhausted.

Why does the snow plow come down my street twice during the same snowfall?

When snow continues to fall over a long period, snow plows may have to clear streets more than once. They do a first pass to open up the street and make it passable to traffic, and then go back to clean-up and bring the street to satisfactory condition.

Why does the City plow in the middle of the night?

Depending on how much snow falls the City may have to plow overnight. Not only is this a safe and more efficient time as there is little road traffic and no cars parked on the streets, but it also ensures that the roads are ready for the morning rush hour.

Why are snow plow and sanders out on the streets when it is not snowing?

Residents may see City crews out when it's not snowing. We pro-actively pre-treat the roads during expected weather conditions. In other cases, plows are sent out to address areas of concern that may have hills or curves. With safety in mind, it is in the best interest of the City and the general public to have these areas treated to prevent ice formation.

How can residents help?

Residents can assist the City in the winter by doing a few things to assist in snow clearing operations:

  • Avoid parking on city streets to allow plows to do their work.
  • When shoveling or plowing snow from your sidewalk or driveway, don't throw it on the street or onto public sidewalks. Pile snow on your property.
  • Place Blue Boxes and garbage containers on a cleared area at the end of your driveway or near the curb. Do not place containers or bags on top of snowbanks, on sidewalks or roads.
  • Be mindful of your neighbors. Do not pile snow so the city plow will push it away from your entrance and fill in your neighbor’s entrance.

Is there a number I can call if my street hasn't been plowed?

Residents who live on a local residential or rural road are asked to wait 24 hours before calling to inquire about plowing operations. Depending on the severity of the storm and the location of your residence, plows may not reach your street for 24 hours. Please be patient.

Who do I contact if my lawn or mailbox has been damaged?

Occasionally roadside mailboxes are damaged or destroyed when hit by the snow plow. They will be repaired or replaced. However, mailboxes damaged by the snow that comes off the wing of a plow are not eligible. To report a damaged mailbox, please call Public Works at (705)474-4340 or report online at customerservice@cityofnorthbay.ca If City equipment damages your lawn, please call (705) 474-4340 or report online at customerservice@cityofnorthbay.ca. In early spring crews will investigate and repair damaged areas by using topsoil and seed.

Will anything be done about the high snow banks along my street?

The City will work to cut down the snow banks along major arterial, collector and transit routes. The City will begin to cut down snow banks when the banks cause sight line issues and snow storage becomes a concern.


Public Works and Services
 (705) 474-4340