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Toronto snow fighters ready for winter

Andrea Stockton, staff writer

January 7, 2010 — The signs of winter are everywhere in Toronto, and the city says it is prepared for whatever Mother Nature brings next.

Over 600 snow plows ready for the winter season
Over 600 snow plows ready for the winter season

The Weather Network's 2010 / 2011 Winter Outlook says this could be a snowier and colder winter than last year thanks to La Niña, so city officials in Toronto want to be prepared.

Gary Welsh, General Manager for Toronto's Transportation Services says there are 600 snowplows, 300 sidewalk plows, 200 salt trucks and over 1,500 staff on standby to keep roads and sidewalks clear.

“We're actually getting the plows out sooner, by re-designing the roots. We actually clear the side streets a lot quicker so the level of service has improved and at the same time we've actually saved money,” says Welsh.

“When we get five centimetres of snow, the plows go out to the expressways and main roads and the plowing continues throughout a major snowstorm.”

Residents urged not to push the snow that has been cleared back on the roads
Residents urged not to push the snow that has been cleared back on the roads

Keeping the streets and walkways clear is a top priority for city crews, but finding ways to protect the environment is also something the region has been considering.

“We've been able to reduce our salt usage by at least 15 percent, since we started our salt management plan,” says Peter Noehammer with Toronto Transportation Services.

While the plan started about ten years ago, Noehammer says the division has really stepped it up in the past few years.

“In 2004 we started using a lot more liquids to pre-wet the salt and we've able to reduce the application rates.”

To stay-up-to-date on the weather in your area this winter, head to our Ontario Cities Index. You can also check out the 2010 / 2011 Winter Outlook for a regional break down of the season.

With files from Lyndsay Morrison

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