HOW ONTARIO’S HIGHWAYS ARE CLEARED
As drivers, we shouldn’t take Ontario’s ability to quickly clear and salt roads for granted. Salt trucks, snow plows, and liquid deicers have to work efficiently and effectively to ensure your commute isn’t hindered or dangerous. From the different types of quick clearing techniques to specific rock salt products, here’s how Ontario ensures highways and roads get back to safe driving conditions after a storm.
Types of Equipment
Snow plows are used to move snow off the roads. They’re designed with two blades: one mounted on the front and the other on the side, called “wing.”
A combination plow is a snow plow outfitted to also spread liquid deicers, salt, or sand. It has a hopper and spreader mounted on its back for this purpose. Additionally, a tow-plow may be used to extend the combination plow’s reach into the next lane. This attachment has its own blade, located on the right of the combination plow, and simply collects the snow as it’s pulled along.
Each piece of equipment has a different role to play before, during, and after a snowfall. While each storm is different and procedure changes based on the conditions, there are generally four components of clearing Ontario’s highways:
When a storm is projected to arrive, road crews may go out to apply anti-icing to the road. This is a liquid solution that prevents ice from forming and bonding with the highway’s surface. Anti-icing liquid only works in specific situations, so road crews rely on information from Ontario’s 141 road weather information stations to determine if anti-icing should be applied.
Plowing begins when at least two centimetres of snow has fallen on the road. Then, snow plows, combination trucks, and tow-plows will head out, scraping the snow to the side to create bare pavement conditions. As they work, the plows send information about their location and speed back to road crew management.
3. Rock Salt
Thirty minutes after the snow begins to fall, combination trucks will begin to spread rock salt on the road to break up the ice and snow. Usually, rock salt is spread on the centre of the road, but this can vary depending on local conditions. Spinners are also used to spray road salt across multiple lanes when necessary. Ontario’s combination trucks can also use pre-wetted salt, which works faster than dry rock salt.
Regardless of temperature, sand can be applied in areas where vehicles may need additional traction, such as intersections, bridges, hills, and curved roads. However, when temperatures are below -12°C sand and salt mixes are more effective to help keep the roads safe. The rate of spray is controlled electronically from inside the vehicle, allowing the operator to match road conditions with more precision.
At Draglam Salt, we understand how important it is to keep Ontario’s roads clear and safe. That’s why we ensure to supply top quality products, such as bagged salt, bulk salt and salt storage domes. Call us at our 24-hour Salt Hotline: 1-888-907-SALT or contact us for your road salt order and delivery!