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Winter Operations

Do you have questions about Winter Operations in the Halifax region?

Check out our Frequently Asked Questions or click on the links of interest at the bottom of this page for more info. Residents can also follow @hfxgov on Twitter or call 311 for timely updates during a weather event.

Parking Ban Update

Please be advised that the municipal overnight winter parking ban will continue to be enforced from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. on Friday, March 6 to help with ongoing ice and snow removal around the Halifax region. Please find off-street parking during those hours.

The municipality is also using temporary No Parking signage on select streets where it is particularly difficult for local traffic, buses and emergency service providers to navigate around parked vehicles. This is a tool the municipality regularly uses every winter season and is permitted under Section 151 of the Nova Scotia Motor Vehicle Act. Thank you for your continued cooperation.

Weather Event Update

Thursday, March 5, 2015 (11:30 a.m.)

Crews are continuing to work with graders and loaders to tackle the thick ice pack on a number of side streets where it has become increasingly difficult to navigate because of deep ruts and potholes in the ice. Crews are also continuing to clear catch basins, push back and cut down snowbanks, and cut out intersections, cul-de-sacs and bus stops from the snow earlier this week

Please note that crews will not get to all streets in the short term and it is important to point out there is no plan to return all streets to bare pavement. Consistent with the service standard for residential and side streets, crews aim to achieve “snow-covered, passable” conditions. Priority efforts have focussed on streets throughout the municipality with the following characteristics:

  • more than 8-10 inches of ice pack;
  • restrictive rutting or ice pot holes;
  • close proximity to schools; and
  • significant safety concerns as identified by Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency and Halifax Transit.
Progress continues and priorities will be adjusted to get action on the worst of the locations over the coming days. The work currently underway will take several weeks in order to make significant gains. The city continues to be affected by volatile weather and, as such, guarantees cannot be provided as to when streets and sidewalks will return to bare conditions.

Other Important Information

311 Halifax

311 Halifax continues to experience an extremely high volume of service requests regarding snow and ice removal. During the month of February alone, the municipality received more than 10,000 calls regarding snow and ice removal – that’s a 700 per cent increase in calls over the same period last year – and service requests are still coming in.

This is a highly unusual situation and 311 Halifax simply doesn’t have the resources to dispatch all of these requests in a timely manner. The increased volume is resulting in longer wait times and in some instances preventing residents from accessing information on inquiries beyond snow clearing. As a result, 311 staff will not be responding to email or online service requests regarding snow and ice removal received within the timeframe noted in the snow service standards.

Snow supervisors have worked with 311, emergency response organizations and Halifax Transit to identify all the problem areas that remain throughout the municipality. While service requests regarding snow and ice removal will not receive a response from 311 Halifax, it will be logged in our system for tracking purposes. Thank you for your patience during this challenging time and we apologize for any inconvenience.

Solid Waste

Residents should note that bad weather and road conditions in some areas are affecting waste, organics and recyclables collection around the region.

If your street was missed, please put your bags or bins out the next day. If the road conditions improve, the trucks will attempt collection again. However, in the event that conditions do not improve and the trucks are not able to collect from your street, please remove the bags and bins from the curb until your next scheduled collection day for that particular waste stream.

Also, residents are reminded to set their waste back a bit from the curb to prevent the plows and other clearing equipment from hitting it during their patrols.

Overnight Winter Parking Ban

The overnight winter parking ban will be in effect from December 15, 2014, to March 31, 2015. Like last season, the ban will be enforced only during declared snow and ice events, from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. Those in violation of the ban can be ticketed or towed.

The easiest way to stay informed is to sign up for notifications.

Snow Banner

For those who signed up last season, you will continue to receive notifications when the ban will be enforced. Residents who subscribe will receive timely messages by phone, email, and/or text message, throughout the winter season, about the status of overnight winter parking bans in the Halifax region. Regular text messaging rates apply.

Winter Preparation

Bring It OnNow is the time to start preparing for the snowy winter months. Follow these simple steps to help protect your property and ensure clearing goes as safely and smoothly as possible:

    - Trim any tree branches and shrubs that originate from your property.

    - Remove planters, lawn decorations and any other portable objects near the sidewalk before the winter.

    - Items like sports equipment that may still be used should be safely stored when bad weather is in the forecast.

    - Mark any permanent structures or objects too big to move with a reflector that will be visible above the snow.

    - Consider tires that have better traction for winter driving and always carry a winter survival kit in your vehicle.

Did you know that that every time it snows, our municipal and contracted crews are responsible for clearing 3,800 lane kilometres of roads? Stretched end to end, that’s the same distance as driving from Halifax to Winnipeg. On top of that, crews also clear close to 1,000 kilometres of sidewalks and walkways and 3,600 bus stops. That’s a lot of ground to cover!

Help crews get the job done faster and safer by staying off the roads when the weather is bad and securing off-street parking for the when the overnight winter parking ban is enforced.

Sidewalk Clearing

In 2013, Regional Council directed staff to begin providing sidewalk snow and ice clearing, including salting and sanding, for all sidewalks in the Halifax region. That means residents are no longer responsible for clearing the sidewalks near their homes or properties.

Sidewalk clearing is done by a combination of municipal and contracted crews, called performance-based contractors. Service standards set by Regional Council state that clearing should occur within 12 to 36 hours after the end of a snowfall. Crews won’t stop until all sidewalks are done.

Like the streets, sidewalks are cleared based on priority levels. Want to know how your street or sidewalk ranks? Try our Street Priority Finder.

While the objective is to maintain sidewalks to a bare condition, many factors play a part in achieving that goal. Rapidly changing weather conditions, like sudden freezes after rain, wet snow packed to ice and freezing rain can produce a heavy ice build-up on sidewalks that is difficult to remove. Sand will be applied to provide a degree of traction on sidewalks, especially when temperatures drop and salt becomes less effective.

Salting & Brine Operations

The Halifax Regional Municipality has adopted a more proactive approach to snow clearing by preparing the streets in advance with rock salt, brine or a mixture of the two, to help prevent the buildup of snow and ice during a weather event.

Direct liquid application (DLA) is a newer technique in the municipality’s overall salt management strategy that involves spraying the streets with saltwater, also known as brine. This minimizes the bond that forms between the surface of the road and snow or ice, similar to using Pam to prevent food from sticking to the pan.

Residents should note that these preventative methods only work in certain conditions. For example, rock salt won’t melt ice if it’s extremely cold and you wouldn’t spray the streets with brine if the forecast is calling for heavy rain. Winter operations staff are constantly evaluating the weather and choosing the best method for the forecast.

Using brine on the streets is better for the environment because it means crews use less rock salt, a substance that often washes into nearby ditches and waterways. Using brine and salt ahead of a storm can also save time and money by making it easier to plow the snow off the streets.

Parking Ban Map Street Priority Finder Winter Maintenance Map


Links of Interest

Sign up for Parking Ban Notifications
Street & Sidewalk Service Standards
Overnight Winter Parking Ban Regulations
Winter Safety Tips

Weather/Road Conditions

Environment Canada - Nova Scotia Weather Warnings
Nova Scotia Highway Cameras
The Weather Network - Warnings & Public Alerts
The Weather Network - 7-Day Forecast for Halifax

Emergency Services

Nova Scotia 911 Service
Nova Scoitia Emergency Management Office (EMO)
Halifax Regional Police Services
Halifax Regional Fire Services


Report a Pothole
Service Standards
Frequently Asked Questions
Asphalt Patching