Snow removal in Saint-Laurent

Last updated January 12, 2024
Reading time: 3 min

Our road crews are busy clearing snow from Saint-Laurent’s streets, sidewalks and bike paths. So, what happens during a snow removal operation in Saint-Laurent?

Meticulously prepared each year, snow removal operations require an impressive workforce and a large fleet of specialized vehicles. As soon as the first snowflakes start to fall, the snow removal crews take up their positions: as is the case every winter,  there is no less than 413 km of streets and 344 km of sidewalks to maintain.

Abrasive spreading: Snowfall less than 2.5 cm 
A mixture of abrasives and ice melters, such as salt and gravel, is spread on streets and sidewalks.

As soon as substantial precipitation (snow or ice) is forecast, our crews get going! They begin spreading salt on the streets, both day and night. First, they focus on major traffic arteries, such as autoroute service roads, and then on the main arteries, such as Marcel-Laurin, Alexis-Nihon and Thimens boulevards. Next they tackle residential streets, not forgetting the areas surrounding schools and institutions.

Snowplowing: Snowfall between 2.5 and 15 cm
The snow continues to fall? A fleet of sidewalk plows then moves into action along the sidewalks to clear them. Pushed from the road to the sides of the street by a road snow plow in order to facilitate the safety of pedestrians and motorists, the snow is piled up at the curb and stays there until the snow removal operation gets under way and the snowblower arrives to load the snow onto trucks.

Abrasive spreading and plowing continue simultaneously there, with salt spread on the streets and and gravel on the sidewalks.  The first places to be cleared are the school bus drop-off areas, located near Saint-Laurent’s elementary and high schools.

Snow removal: Snowfall of more than 15 cm
Once all the streets and sidewalks have been plowed, the next step is snow removal.

This operation, which involves snowblowing and snow loading, is handled by the City’s crews. Generally, the City issues such an order in the morning at about 9 a.m. The work begins as early as 7 p.m. the same day or 7 a.m. the next morning.

First, the Signage crew posts snow removal signs on poles or streetlights or in snowbanks; these signs are necessary to warn motorists of the passing of the snow removal trucks and team.

Then it’s time for the actual snow removal operation to get under way, a process that requires coordination between the snowblower operators and the drivers of the trucks that will be loaded with the snow. It’s quite a challenge, as they have to keep an eye on pedestrians, parked vehicles and drivers… especially considering that a convoy of these trucks can be up to 300 metres long and is made up of 5 to 10 huge vehicles.

At this stage of the operation, the snow is blown onto the trucks and transported to one of the three snow disposal sites, i.e., one of the two snow storage areas or the mechanized sewer chute.

Our objective
When the accumulation of snow is less than 2.5 cm, this operation of removing the snow from the entire Saint-Laurent territory is carried out in one single day. However, it takes at least 4 days following an accumulation of 20 cm or more and over 5 days for more than 26 cm!

Incentive parking for snow removal periods
To ensure the smooth rollout of snow removal operations and accelerate the process, Saint-Laurent has designated eight incentive parking zones where Saint-Laurent residents can temporarily leave their vehicles at these times.

Offering a total of 431 parking spaces, these sites will be accessible free of charge between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m., as well as during the daytime for some. It will be important to pay close attention to the temporary signs announcing site hours for this purpose in the following
locations: The Mairie d’arrondissement, the Complexe sportif, the Centre des loisirs and the Jules-Poitras site.

Jules-Poitras site is open 24 hours a day. 

Complexe sportif (2385, boulevard Thimens): 180 spaces
Centre des loisirs (1375, rue Grenet): 80 spaces
Mairie (777, boulevard Marcel-Laurin): 70 spaces
Jules-Poitras site (1694, boulevard Jules-Poitras): 30 spaces
Parc Noël-Nord (3110, boulevard Toupin): 25 spaces
Parc Saint-Laurent (845, rue Poirier): 19 spaces
Parc Noël-Sud (3005, rue Mathis): 16 spaces
Parc Beaulac (1145, rue Elizabeth): 11 spaces

Snow removal facts and figures
- 10 snow removal sectors
- 80 employees
- 24 sidewalk plows
- 25 snow loaders, including the equipment of private contractors who assist in the operations, if need be 
- 5 salt spreaders
- 8 tractor-loaders
- 15,000 metric tons of salt
- 500 metric tons of gravel