Snow Clearing Service Standards

Crews begin their work before the winter weather event even begins. They do so by applying salt or brine, to streets and sidewalks across the region. Snow clearing efforts begin once the snow has begun to accumulate. 

Here, you can learn when clearing will take place (per our standards and timelines below), what your street or sidewalk should look like when the job is done, and who to contact if your street or sidewalk is not cleared within timelines.

NOTE: Clearing timelines may be exceeded during exceptional weather conditions.

Find out if your street is cleared by the municipality or the province. If it is cleared by the municipality, the map will outline the priority level and clearing timeline. You can determine priority level by entering your address into the interactive map. 

NOTE: The interactive map does not work for screen readers. If you are using a screen reader, please call 311 and an agent will assist you in finding your street priority.

Our service standards for clearing start when accumulation stops and the Weather Event End Time is confirmed (note that crews are out clearing once snow begins to accumulate).

Street clearing standards & timelines

A street in winter. The street is fully plowed and bare pavement is visible

Main Arterials (Priority 1)

When clearing begins: After 2 cm of snowfall
When clearing should be completed: 12 hours from end of declared event
What clearing should look like: Bare pavement driving lanes

A winter street. It has been plowed but there is a light layer of snow on the street.

Halifax Transit routes & collector roads (Priority 1)

When clearing begins: After 2 cm of snowfall
When clearing should be completed: 12 hours from end of declared event
What clearing should look like: Three metres centreline bare

A street in Dartmouth. It is plowed and the centre line of the street is visible, but the sides of the street have some snow.

Residential streets, greater than 10% slope that are snow routes for Halifax Transit (Priority 1)

When clearing begins: After 4 cm of snowfall
When clearing should be completed: 12 hours from end of declared event
What clearing should look like: Centreline bare

A street in winter. The street is covered by a light layer of snow but vehicles can still pass.

Residential Streets, Gravel Roads & Private Lanes (Priority 2)

When clearing begins: After 10 cm of snowfall
When clearing should be completed: 24 hours from end of declared event
What clearing should look like: Snow-covered, passable

A street with a single lane plowed down the middle

Residential Streets (Priority 2)

When clearing begins: After 10 cm of snowfall, during extended periods of snow, when a weather event has not been declared ended
Clearing efforts: Crews will complete a cut through every 8 hours 
What clearing should look like: Cut through / first pass

Sidewalk & bike lane clearing timelines

Protected bike lanes and local street bikeways will now be cleared alongside corresponding sidewalks.

A cleared sidewalk in Halifax with snowbanks over a metre high.

Downtown Halifax & Dartmouth (Priority 1)

When clearing begins: After 5 cm of snowfall
When clearing should be completed: 12 hours from end of declared event

Main arterials and School drop-off zones (Priority 1)

When clearing begins: After 15 cm of snowfall
When clearing should be completed: 12 hours from declared end of weather event

Halifax Transit routes (Priority 2)

When clearing begins: After 15 cm of snowfall
When clearing should be completed: 18 hours from declared end of weather event

Residential streets/ walkways (Priority 3)

When clearing begins: After 15 cm of snowfall
When clearing should be completed: 36 hours from declared end of weather event

Intersections/ bus stops

When clearing begins: After sidewalks are completed
When clearing should be completed: 24 hours from end of declared weather event

When should I contact 311?

Contact 311 to report concerns with clearing efforts on municipal streets, sidewalks, and bike lanes. If your street clearing is managed by the province, please contact Nova Scotia Public Works (NSPW) or call 511.  

You can confirm if your street is the responsibility of the municipality or the province by using the interactive map above.

Before contacting 311 to report snow and ice clearing issues, make sure the clearing timelines have expired.

If you contact 311 before the specified timelines have passed, your concerns will be recorded but crews will not dispatched, as clearing efforts are still underway within timelines.

Once the service timelines have expired, you can report any snow or ice removal issues on municipal streets/ sidewalks/ bike lanes via email ContactUs@311.halifax.ca or by calling 311 

Improved convenience: Next time you need to contact 311, try the "Call Back" feature during busy times, which reserves your spot in the call queue without having to wait on the line for the next available agent. 

If you see a vehicle impacting snow clearing during regular business hours, please call 311. If you see a vehicle ignoring the overnight winter parking ban, please only call the after-hours line if it is an emergency (example: a vehicle is blocking a driveway or sidewalk).

Exceptional weather conditions

Streets and sidewalks are prioritized based on several criteria, including how often they’re used by commuters, access to important infrastructure like hospitals and schools and whether they’re on major bus and transportation routes.

In snowfalls greater than 30 centimeters or in blizzard conditions, more time may be needed to complete clearing. The same exception may apply when there are rapidly changing weather conditions. Crews will continue working until all streets and sidewalks are clear and safe.