Ontario: Province Plans to Improve Winter Road Conditions

Update: see previous post – April 29, 2015 Ontario Contracts Out Winter Highway Maintenance; Safety Deteriorated, January 29, 2014 Ontario: MTO Fines Contractors for Substandard Highway Maintenance

winter driving

Photo by (Yvon Theriault/Radio-Canada)

Province Adding More Equipment, Anti-Icing Liquids Before Storms

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Today Ontario released the Winter Highway Maintenance Action Plan in response to the Auditor General of Ontario’s report on winter highway maintenance.

The plan lays out how the province will continue to improve winter road conditions, keep drivers better informed and increase oversight of winter maintenance contractor performance.

In time for Winter 2015-16, Ontario will:

By July 2000, all the winter maintenance work on Ontario Highways was delivered by contractors.
By July 2000, all the winter maintenance work on Ontario Highways was delivered by contractors.
  • Add more equipment, such as standalone spreaders in remote, rural and congested urban areas
  • Apply more anti-icing liquids to roads before winter storms so highways are less slippery when bad weather begins
  • Improve the Ontario 511 website by adding live camera images and time-stamped road condition information
  • Launch a Track My Plow program in the Owen Sound and Simcoe County areas so people can see where  plows are operating on their highway or travel route
  • Work with contractors to improve equipment readiness and ensure there are trained operators available during the winter season
  • Add dash cams in patrol vehicles and install more than 30 stand-alone roadside cameras at strategic locations.
The government claims to have 958 Plow Blades/697 Salt/Sand Hoppers at its' disposal to clear roads after snow has fallen.
The government claims to have 958 Plow Blades/697 Salt/Sand Hoppers at its’ disposal to clear roads after snow has fallen.

Ontario has already taken steps to improve winter maintenance contracts, including a new contract with greater oversight provisions for the Kenora area to Emcon Services Inc., a Canadian company with 27 years of experience. The contract includes stronger requirements for winter snow clearing operations, including identifying expected levels for use of salt, sand and anti-icing liquids as well as prescriptive equipment and road patrolling requirements. All future winter maintenance contracts will include these new requirements.

Quick Facts

  • The Office of the Auditor General of Ontario released the Winter Maintenance Report on April 29, 2015.
  • According to the Ontario Road Safety Annual Report, Ontario’s roads consistently rank among the safest in North America.

Background Information

Additional Resources

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