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Snow Clearing - Frequently Asked Questions

Our crews make every effort to clear roads and sidewalks as quickly and effectively as possible. We maintain 376 lane kilometres of roads and 70 kilometres of sidewalks, so your patience is appreciated.

What number do I call if I have a concern?

To report a snow related concern on primary roads, please call the Region of York at 905-830-4444 Ext. 75200. To report snow related concerns on secondary and residential roads, as well as sidewalks, please call the Town of East Gwillimbury at (905) 478-4282. 

Are all roads cleared at once?

No. When snow accumulation reaches 8 centimetres, the Town clears secondary roads first to ensure that emergency service vehicles can gain access throughout the town. Residential streets are plowed only after secondary roads are cleared and only when snow accumulation reaches 10 centimetres. When streets require plowing, they are cleared within 24 hours after the end of the storm whenever possible, although heavy snowfalls or successive storms can sometimes extend this period.

What are primary, secondary and residential roads?

Primary roads are those with the highest speeds and greatest volume of traffic; these are the responsibility of York Region. Secondary roads have less traffic but also have bus routes and generally lead to primary roads; these are the responsibility of the Town of East Gwillimbury. The remainder of roads are residential, and are also the responsibility of the Town. Some seemingly residential roads are classified as secondary due to high traffic volumes, the presence of facilities such as schools, or due to hills and valleys.

When does the Town plow?

When snow accumulation reaches 8 centimetres, the Town plows secondary roads and all sidewalks.

What is "snow pack"?

Snow pack is hard-packed snow on a roadway. It is the condition that can be expected periodically on residential roads. Snow pack develops quickly as vehicles travel on snow-covered roads and snow plows are not able to scrape it off because it is usually bonded to the pavement.

When does the town salt and/or sand the roads?

Sand/Salt trucks are dispatched at the start of a snowfall and at the first sign of roads beginning to ice.

What is a windrow?

A snow windrow is the pile of snow that accumulates at the end of driveways when the road is plowed.

Why does the snow plow leave a windrow at the end of my driveway?

Plow operators do not intentionally block driveways, but they have limited control over the amount and direction of snow that comes off the plow. When clearing the end of your driveway, try to pile the snow on the right side (standing in your driveway and looking towards the street). This can help reduce the amount of snow that is pushed onto your driveway when a snow plow passes. The Town does not clear driveways.

When are transit stops cleared?

Transit stops are cleared by York Region Transit.  If you have questions regarding a transit stop please contact 1-866-MOVEYRT (668-3978).

When can I expect my sidewalk to be cleared?

Sidewalks are cleared after snow accumulation reaches 2.5 centimetres.

Sidewalk clearing is generally completed within 24 hours after the end of the storm; however, when we have a heavy snowfall, or successive winter events back to back, it will take longer to clear all sidewalks.

Why can’t I push snow out onto the road?

Depositing snow or ice on the street creates hazardous traffic conditions and this could result in an accident.  Make sure your snow removal contractor is aware this practice is unsafe and not permitted.

What do I do if the snowplow hits my mailbox?

If your mailbox has been damaged during snow removal, call the Town at (905) 478-4282. Staff will inspect the damage to determine the cause. If the damage was caused by the mailbox being struck by the plow, the Town will replace it with a standard mailbox on a 4"x 4" post. The Town does not repair or replace mailboxes knocked over by snow that is thrown off the plow blade.

I live on a corner lot – why do I have more snow in my driveway than my neighbours?

If you live on a corner property and the driveway is close to the corner, you can experience a buildup of more snow on your driveway than your neighbours. This is an unavoidable condition caused by the nature of the snow plow and its ability to maneuver turns.

Why is my lawn sometimes damaged by the sidewalk plow?

While operators try to be careful, some degree of damage is unavoidable. Sidewalk plows have to be large enough to move deep, heavy snow. Deep or drifted snow conditions often hide the sidewalk edge and, unfortunately, the plow can cause damage to grass. When sod is frozen, damage is minimal; however, when sod is not frozen, it lifts away very easily. To report sod damage, please call the Town at (905) 478-4282. Staff will inspect the damage and make repairs in the spring.