Every year, as soon as the cold weather starts to set in, the City gets back into snow and ice removal mode. To learn more about these operations and the small things that can make them easier, see the following sections.
To find out all about the snow clearing and removal operations carried out by the city, we invite you to consult the Info-neige – Follow-up of snow removal operations page.
In Châteauguay, the entire territory we cover includes:
- 530 km of roads and parking lots to clear
- 157 km of streets to de-ice
- 64 km of sidewalks to clear and de-ice
- 16 buildings with walkways and doorways to clear
- 1,600 fire hydrants to make accessible
- 59 bus shelters to clear
In order to cover the entire territory, a snowfall action strategy has been established to clear the snow by three levels of priority:
- Priority 1 – Preferred lane, boulevards, main streets that connect high-traffic roads, school routes
- Priority 2 – Side streets and streets around public buildings (police station, fire station, library, city hall)
- Priority 3 – Low-traffic residential streets, including dead ends.
Snow removal operations are planned daily based on accurate weather reports.
- When snow accumulation starts to approach 5 cm: Salting and gravelling of main arteries begins.
- When snow accumulation exceeds 10 cm: We pull out all the stops! All the equipment is put to use to clear the snow from the entire municipality. The operations continue until all the streets and sidewalks are clear and safe. For Ville de Châteauguay, that means:
- 20 snowplows (15 snowplows and 5 small 6-wheel truck plows)
- 8 road tractors
- 7 abrasive spreaders
- 4 wheel loaders to clear parking lots
- 5 snowcats for sidewalks
- 2 blowers
- 1 grader equipped scarifying blades, as required
- The work begins with the main arteries, high-traffic streets and areas around the hospital and schools.
- Then it moves to secondary arteries.
- It is repeated on all roads, based on priority (1– main arteries, 2– side streets, 3– residential streets), frequency and amount of precipitation.
- To work efficiently, the teams follow snow removal routes assigned from among the 15 routes in the territory.
For safety purposes and despite the snow removal strategy, certain places require ongoing gravelling/salting over short distances:
- Reserved bus lanes
- Dangerous curves
- Steep slopes
- Bridges and overpasses
- Dangerous intersections on major boulevards
Situations outside our control, such as the quantity of precipitation that falls, weather conditions and equipment breakdown, may slow snow removal. To facilitate operations, your cooperation is essential:
- Do not throw snow into the street or the sidewalk when you clear your entryway.
- On pickup days, place your garbage and recycling bins near the sidewalk, on your property, but never on the sidewalk or in the street. Pick up garbage cans and recycling bins quickly after the trucks pass.
- Do not park in the street between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Offenders will receive a ticket with no warning and have their vehicle towed.
- When it snows during the day, avoid parking in the street, if possible. Your cooperation will be greatly appreciated by our snow removal team, and it also helps make their work faster and more efficient.
For the sake of sustainable development and environmental protection, the city adheres to the Stratégie québécoise pour une gestion environnementale des sels de voirie. It has also established quartiers blancs (snow neighbourhoods).
- Spreading abrasives and ice melters with moderation over shorter distances, only when their use is deemed essential.
- For some neighbourhoods, only abrasives (small gravel) are used.
- Increases the lifespan of municipal infrastructures.
Harmful effects of overuse of de-icing salts
- Are considered harmful by the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.
- Hasten the demise of trees by affecting buds, leaves and branches.
- Contaminate groundwater and artesian wells due to the migration of chloride.
- Corrode concrete, steel, car bodies and clothing.
- Change the pH balance of the soil.
- Attract white-tailed deer, moose and birds, increasing the risk of collision.
- Encourage the growth of ragweed along the roads.
Answers to your questions
The snow removal teams are ready to take action quickly based on the forecast weather conditions. Every day, the weather forecasts are monitored to plan the required operations.
In every snow removal operation, we clear and de-ice nearly 530 km of roads and parking lots, 157 km of streets and 64 km of sidewalks. It is important to understand that the city starts clearing on the roads with the highest traffic: boulevards first, then streets around schools, daycares, bus stops and health care centres, and finally local streets.
Snow removal priorities have been set to ensure everyone’s safety on the roads.
Like nearly everywhere in Québec, our snow removal operations take place at night because there is less traffic. It allows us to avoid pointless traffic jams, reduces the risk of accident and increases the efficiency of the operation.
To muffle the sound of the trucks, please keep your windows closed.
Streets are widened when the snowbanks extend more than 1 m into the road or when the width of the lanes no longer allows vehicles to pass safely. In this situation, the snow is blown on to the land along the side of the road.
Are you worried that snowbanks will stop emergency vehicles? Report the situation to us in either of these ways:
Email us at:
Is it badly parked vehicles that are barring your street? Inform the police by calling 911. They can have the vehicles towed, if necessary.
Changes have been made to snow removal operations since 2019 to improve the situation, but it is important to understand that winter weather conditions in recent years have been making snow removal more difficult. Mild spells followed by deep freezes (rapid temperature shifts) cover the ground with successive layers of ice that are harder to plow than snow. This is an issue that many Québec municipalities have been facing. For example, if it rains during the day and the temperature plummets at night, it can be hard or even impossible for our crews to remove the layer of ice that forms on the road surface. Unfortunately, the ideal window for doing the work is often quite short. Our teams start as soon as possible, beginning with the main arteries.
All properties in the municipality’s territory may have snow blown on to them during snow removal operations. Loading and transporting all this snow would lead to significant additional costs for taxpayers, and this method, in addition to being more ecologically sound, allows us to avoid that.
When there is more than 10 cm (4 in.) of snow on the ground, blowing begins within 48 hours of the start of snow removal operations. Blowing is carried out continually, in the evening and night.
Spreading salt and abrasives
As soon as precipitation starts to fall, preventive sanding is carried out on main arteries, hills and overpasses. When the precipitation ends, we sand the main arteries and side streets continuously, in the centre of the road. On other roads, sanding is limited to intersections, stops and curves.
To be effective, salt needs moisture, heat and time to dissolve. Traffic, sun and temperatures above –15ºC improve its effectiveness. During the winter, when conditions do not allow for the effective use of road salt, sanding with small gravel is preferred. It has no melting effect on snow or ice, but it improves friction between tires and the road. Spreading a high volume of salt or abrasives on the roads will not necessarily melt the ice faster. A steady stream of traffic and calm winds slow the freeze.
We would need at least 7,000 tons of road salt – 4,000 tons more than we use now – leading to additional cost of about $340,000, not to mention significant environmental impacts and the need for more equipment and workers. We would also need extended periods with temperatures near 0ºC to do so.
We are sorry for the inconvenience. Sometimes the vehicles used for snow removal operations cause damage as they pass.
If the damage to your property could have been caused during a snow removal operation, you can file a claim with the city within 15 of the event.