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The City uses many tools, independently or in combination, to make roads as safe as possible. Tools used depend on road and weather conditions.

The City is continually adapting its winter road maintenance program to support accessibility and mobility for all Edmontonians and support the Vision Zero goal of safe travel in every season — whether it’s on a road, bike lane or sidewalk.

We achieve this by removing snow and ice from roads, bike lanes, bus shelters and bus stops, and public sidewalks using any number of tools—including sand, plows, salt, and anti-icer brine.

The safest option for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians is to use the right tool for the right condition in order to reach bare pavement during the winter season.

This approach is based on extensive and ongoing research into best practices across North American jurisdictions, as well as a review of existing research on snow and ice control techniques.

As part of our study of snow and ice control techniques, we are doing a thorough review of the benefits and trade-offs of achieving bare pavement on our environment, infrastructure and vehicles. Once we have a more complete picture of the benefits and trade-offs of achieving bare pavement and how we can best optimize snow and ice control, we will report back to Council.

What We Heard - May 2019

Snow and Ice Control Public Engagement

Over the winter months, the City of Edmonton gathered input from Edmontonians through a series of public engagements. All of the feedback we received is compiled in the following documents:

Residential Snow and Ice Control - What We Heard Full Report

Residential Snow and Ice Control - What We Heard Summary

Seniors' Centre Intercept Survey - What We Heard

Winter Walkways Symposium - What We Heard

Snow & Ice Clearing

Physically removing snow and ice from roadways is our first line of defence. This includes plowing, brooming and snow-blowing. These mechanical clearing methods are efficient when dealing with large quantities of snow, but they’re most effective when combined with other strategies.

Salt & Sand

Thawing and refreezing can leave thick, slippery layers of ice on sidewalks and roadways. The City has different ice control tools for different weather conditions — salt is an effective de-icer except in extreme cold, and sand is used when it’s too cold for salt to be effective on its own.

Salt and sand are used to ensure safe road conditions. Weather conditions determine which is more effective at any given time. Salt is used to melt ice and sand is used to give more traction and provide more grip. Both are used to create safer conditions.

Temperatures Above -15 °C
Road salt (liquid or solid chips) is applied to loosen ice from pavement.

Temperatures Below -15 °C
Sand is applied to increase traction on icy roads until ice can be removed.


Anti-icing brine is the City’s newest tool. It is being used as part of a pilot project that began in 2017.

Using anti-icing brine makes plowing easier and more effective by keeping snow and ice from sticking to the pavement. Treating roads with this brine makes them safer and drier, but use of anti-icing brine is highly limited because it can only be used under very specific conditions.

Anti-icing brine is used when:

  • The pavement is dry
  • It’s -20°C or warmer
  • There is no blowing snow

Anti-Icing Facts

  • Anti-icing brine is less corrosive to vehicles than traditional road salt
  • Walking, cycling or driving on treated pavement is safe for people and pets
  • Anti-icing brine is not used on residential roads and is only applied on major routes identified in the pilot program

For more information, visit Snow & Ice Control Pilot.

Why Bare Pavement?

Bare pavement is the gold standard for safety. The City’s focus is to get roads as bare as possible, as fast as possible. We accomplish this using many tools. To get the best results, the City constantly monitors conditions and makes sure to use the right tools in the right place at the right time.

Get the facts about the City's snow and ice control pilot.
Please clear sidewalks around your property as soon as possible to keep everyone moving safely.
Bans can be declared between November 5 and March 15 with 8 hours notice. Don't park on a plowed bus route until the ban has been officially lifted.

For More Information

Roadway Maintenance


Call 311 for more information, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

In Edmonton: 311
Outside Edmonton: 780-442-5311

TTY 780-944-5555

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