City Service Levels: Ploughing Driveway Snow Windrows

A ruler is used to measure the height of the snow windrow at the end of the driveway outside of a Toronto home.  Snow plough crews should clear windrows greater than 25 cm in height in order to meet the City’s service standards.

The City of Toronto has contracted out ploughing and driveway windrow clearing to the private sector.  The contract specifies winter maintenance service levels that the contractor has to provide to the City and its residents.

Local residential streets are ploughed after the accumulation of 8 cm of snow.  Driveway windrow clearing work is done at the same time as local streets are being ploughed but there are caveats regarding the conditions under which the former service is provided.

Driveway windrow clearing work will commence only when the windrow height is greater than 25 cm or 10 inches.  Furthermore, contractors are not obligated to clear the windrow across the entire driveway.  The service levels specified by Transportation Services dictates that a sufficient space (3 m) must be cleared to allow a small car to navigate safely.

I often measure the height of the snow windrow that contractors leave behind to determine whether or not they are complying with service levels (see photograph above).