Snow Event Operations
City-wide snow grading and removal in progress
Saskatoon received approximately 34 centimetres of snow between December 25 and December 28, prompting the activation of a city-wide snow response plan, which includes snow grading and removal on all city streets. Learn more and find schedules for grading and removal on this new page >> City-wide snow grading and removal
When it snows
- City staff and equipment will keep the driving lanes of Circle Dr and major roads such as Idylwyld Dr, College Dr and 22nd St clear while it snows. They will spread salt/sand on slippery intersections, on/off ramps and bridge decks.
- When more than 5 cm of snow falls, a Snow Event is declared and contractor graders are added to the City fleet as the snow stops to clean-up freeways, arterial and collector streets, storing snow on medians, boulevards and in parking lanes. They will also clear City facility sidewalks, Meewasin Trail, park pathways with street lighting and bridge/overpass walkways.
- If another snowfall or blowing snow occurs before these areas are cleaned up, crews may be redeployed to major roads.
- City-managed snow storage sites are available for snow haulers.
Priority Street Grading
There are three types of priority streets that determine the order of snow grading. Look-up your address on our Priority Street Snow Grading map to see if snow grading happens on your street after a snow event.
|Category||Service level in a snow event (5+ cm of snow)||Street examples|
|Priority 1||Freeways, major arterials, bridges will be plowed within 12 hours after a snowstorm ends.||Circle Dr and streets with three+ lanes each way like Idylwyld Dr, 22nd St and College Dr.|
|Priority 2||Arterials with double-lanes and Saskatoon Transit routes will be graded within 36 hours after a snowstorm ends.||Double-lane streets like Clarence Ave, McKercher Dr and Millar Ave.|
|Priority 3||Collector streets, remaining Business Improvement District streets and school zones will be completed within 72 hours after a snowstorm ends.||These streets take you through your neighbourhood like Louise Ave, Howell Ave and Main St|
|Sidewalks and Pathways||City facility sidewalks, Meewasin Trail, park pathways with street lighting, pathways along freeways and arterials and bridge/overpass walkways are graded within 48 hours.||
Wanuskewin Rd, McClocklin Rd, Saskatoon Transit terminals, Sen. Sid Buckwold Bridge walkway, Saskatoon Zoo and Forestry Farm Park, Attridge Dr and Leisure Centres
Residential/ local street grading
Look-up your address on our Priority Street Snow Grading map using the magnifying glass to see if snow grading happens on your street after a snow event. Grading snow on residential/ local streets is not in the budget for normal Saskatoon winters.
Grading on residential/ local streets may be required in a winter with a lot of snow, just prior to the spring melt, if the snow pack on streets is 15 cm thick. This would help prevent deep ruts as the snow softens. The snow would be stored in piles in the parking lane and not removed.
The Roadways Emergency Response Plan may be activated -- to include city-wide grading and snow removal -- if the criteria are met and approved by the City Manager.
Sand & Salt
Salt and sand are applied at intersections and on high-traffic streets to remove ice and add traction all winter.
Salt and liquid de-icer (magnesium chloride) is used to soften the ice only above -12C and after the street has been graded or with light snow. It is not effective to put salt on deep snow because it takes too much salt to melt a lot of snow.
Sand with 5% potash salt and liquid de-icer is used to improve traction at all temperatures. The sand doesn’t soften the ice but improves traction by making the street surface rough. The liquid de-icer and salt added help the sand stick to the street and prevent it from blowing away under traffic.
The selection of sand or salt depends on how much snow has fallen, if the street has been plowed or graded of snow, the wind speed and temperatures.
Park Paths and Sidewalks
- All lighted park pathways are cleared with a goal of completion within 48 hours of snowfall ending.
- Sidewalks adjacent to parks are cleared within 48 hours of snowfall ending.
- Approximately 14 km of crusher dust paths in naturalized parks are cleared with a goal of completion within 48 hours of snowfall ending.
- From October 15 to May 1 collection schedules for park waste bins are a minimum of once every three weeks.
Cross Country Ski Trail Grooming
- Cross country ski trails are maintained along the East and West banks of the beautiful South Saskatchewan River and in a variety of parks and open spaces throughout Saskatoon. Visit saskatoon.ca/ski for trail updates.
A reminder to park users to wear good footwear when using park areas during the winter season as pathways often become slippery.
Schools and Business Districts
School areas/zones are graded and snow stays in piles in the parking lane, except for the loading zone. The snow cleared from the school loading zones is stored on the opposite side of the street or down the street in snow piles.
The snow piles will be removed at night once the average height reaches 60 cm to increase visibility of students during pick-up and drop-off, to create more parking spaces and to make storage room for the next snowfall.
Snow is hauled away from some business districts as part of the overnight snow event grading to maintain parking.
When warm weather arrives, the snow and ice can melt quickly.
What you can expect from us
- City crews will clear snow from streets this winter to reduce snow melt when the weather warms up. Watch: Spring Snowmelt Video
- Graded snow will be stored in piles along the middle and/or the side of the road to slow down snow melt and reduce flooding around catch basins
- On warm days, our crews will begin defrosting catch basins and clearing gutters to improve drainage
- We keep a close eye on important intersections prone to flooding in a fast melt
How you can help us
- Call the customer care center if you notice water collecting that is impacting traffic, crosswalks on busy streets or private property.
- If the snow melts quickly, your home may be at risk of flooding, even if you haven’t flooded before. We hope that doesn’t happen, but just to be safe, please find more tips to help reduce your risk of a snowmelt flood in your home.
Emergency Snow Response Plan
An emergency snow response plan will see extra staffing and contractor resources activated to restore mobility in the city after a blizzard with snow accumulations of at least 25 centimetres and mobility reduced to the point light vehicles cannot drive on city streets. A formalized approach will allow for an efficient response to get our city moving again safely in the event we see extreme snowfall in the future. The plan was developed following the lessons learned during the November 2020 extreme snowstorm. The Roadways Emergency Response Plan (PDF) was approved by City Council in September 2021. See also Roadways Emergency Response Plan Highlights (PDF)
As part of a whole community response to emergency management, all residents should have a 72-hour plan for emergency events. Public Safety Canada advises Canadians that “If an emergency happens in your community, it may take emergency workers some time to reach you. You should be prepared to take care of yourself and your family for a minimum of 72 hours". Read more about the Emergency Preparedness Guide on the Government of Canada website.