Toronto 'ready' for wintry morning commute, city staff say

Toronto isn't the greatest place for commuters on the best of days and throwing some snow into the morning commute may not help your ride into work.

600 road plows, 300 sidewalk machines and 200 salters prepared for Tuesday

If you see a plow or salter on the road, be sure to stay 150 metres away to allow city workers to safely do their job. (CBC)

Toronto isn't the greatest place for commuters on the best of days and throwing some snow into the morning commute may not help your ride into work.

On Tuesday, Environment Canada is expecting a moderate dusting of snow across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), with 5 to 10 centimetres slated to come down during the morning commute. 

"We're not talking about a lot of snow but the timing is bad for the morning drive," said CBC Toronto meteorologist Jay Scotland. 

But fear not, GTA drivers. With a little patience and extra time, you just may be able to make it into work on time. 

"The city is ready and well prepared," said Hector Moreno, manager for road operations, transportation services at the city of Toronto. 

"Over the past 12 hours or so, we've had applications of salt in response to the most recent snow event that we had early [Monday] morning," he said. 

"Most of the salt has been spread on expressways or main collectors and local streets, that should be able to start off … the melting power as soon as the snow begins."

And snow isn't the only thing motorists should be concerned about. Wind gusts are expected to reach 70 kilometres per hour, which could blow snow and reduce visibility. 

"Part of our preparation is ensuring that all the equipment is mechanically fit, ensuring that we do have sufficient materials ... ensuring that the staff is well rested."

Hector Moreno, manager for road operations, transportation services at the city of Toronto, says dealing with traffic is a challenge for plows and salters. (CBC)

City staff will combat the conditions with a combination of brine and granular salt, Moreno told CBC News, adding roughly 600 road plows, 300 sidewalk machines and 200 salters will be on standby and deployed "as necessary."

Twenty-five city staffers will be relying on their "state-of-the-art weather stations" to determine where and when to dispatch their resources, the manager noted.

"Plowing is usually activated at 2.5 centimetres of snow on expressways, about 5 centimetres of snow on main roads and 8 centimetres plus for the local streets," Moreno said.

When asked what the biggest challenge is for city workers, Moreno was quick to respond. 

"Quite frankly, it's traffic more than anything else. It all depends on the timing. If the storm does come overnight, it makes it a lot easier for the crews to manoeuvre around and clean the roads."

And if you're one of those people expected to get behind the wheel Tuesday morning, city staff said it's best to drive according to road conditions, stay 150 metres away from plows or salters and try to give yourself plenty of time.

"When you're dealing with traffic ... it certainly does slow things down," Moreno said.

City staffers will be relying on state-of-the-art weather stations to determine when to dispatch their resources to clear snow and salt roadways, if necessary. (CBC)

With files from Trevor Dunn


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