Skip to main content

City prepared for winter snow clearing operations in advance of first snowfall

The City of Saint John’s Transportation & Public Works Services presented the updated 2020-21 Winter Management Plan to Council on December 14. Through the plan, the City coordinates winter preparations, organizes resources, and guides operational protocols for servicing public streets and sidewalks, under widely varying conditions. The goal of the plan is to maintain safe usability of roads, and pedestrian access along designated sidewalks and walkways across the City.

“While a plan to manage through an unpredictable winter is never an exact science, a lesson our community experienced firsthand during the “Snowmageddon” storms of 2015, the City’s Plan aims to set priorities, measurable service-level objectives, and an overarching goal to service the community,” said Mike Hugenholtz, Commissioner of Public Works. “When preparing to tackle any winter storm event, there are several factors we must consider, including resources, operator safety, the severity of the storm, temperature fluctuations, localized conditions and successive storms.”

An initial review of this year’s Winter Management Plan was presented to Council in November, and further adjustments were made based on feedback from the meeting and consultations with the school board and Saint John Transit.

Of greatest note:

Street plowing - Through scheduling adjustments, the City has found a way to be more efficient with the use of our heavy equipment. While there will be no changes to our service-level objectives this year, crews are operating with fewer heavy equipment (nine) on the road, some residents may notice a delay in the early morning response over last year. The City services 1,160 lane KMs of road. This includes snow clearing and the application of sand, salt, and brine. Additional services include snow removal, ice-cutting, and pothole patching.

Sidewalk plowing - A reduction in equipment (3 pieces) and personnel required a redesign of the sidewalk plowing portion of the plan, with a strong focus remaining on school zones and high-travelled sidewalks. When looking at sidewalks across the City, residents can expect a slight reduction in the length of sidewalks plowed. In years past, the City maintained 61% of all sidewalks; this year, the City will attempt to maintain 55% of all sidewalks. Ice removal on the high-traffic sidewalks will also remain a priority, and a new piece of equipment will assist crews with this effort.

The City uses 55 pieces of equipment to service roads and sidewalks, as well as arenas, fire stations, depots, and other City facilities.

“We will continue to deliver quality service to our community and are encouraged that the many enhancements we have made to our operations over the past five years will help offset the reductions to our budget this year. We are always encouraged by how well our community works together, shares in the responsibility, and maintains realistic expectations of winter service,” adds Hugenholtz.

The full 2020-21 Winter Management Plan including streets and sidewalks services based on priority rating, is available on