Friday, January 5, 2018

Windrows: what they are and what to do about them

What is a windrow?

This winter Calgary has seen some powerful snowfalls. And more snow brings more concerns about windrows and the trouble they cause for Calgarians.

According to The City’s Snow and Ice Control Policy, crews are mandated to maintain the driving lane on residential streets to a safe, reasonable winter driving condition. Crews do this by “flat-blading,” turning the blade under a sander downward to flatten the snow to a hard pack so it is easier to drive on.

While this is good for motorists, the snow left over after crews have flat-bladed, can create some extra work for property owners. The reason is because flat-blading causes a continuous a buildup of snow along the side of a roadway, also known a windrow that can be difficult to remove, especially if left too long.

There is a windrow in front of my driveway, who’s clearing it?

The clearing of windrows in front of driveways left by snow plowing equipment is the responsibility of the adjacent property owner, much like sidewalk shoveling. Plow operators make every attempt to keep driveways clear or keep windrows as small as possible, but any spillage that does occur is the responsibility of the property owner to clear.

What does The City do about windrows?

City crews do their best to keep windrows small by evenly distributing the snow on either side of the road, however, after heavy snowfalls windrows can build up. If a windrow is taller than 30 centimetres and impeding a resident’s ability to enter their driveway a crew can come and assess the windrow and remove it if required.

Citizens should contact 311 if they have concerns about a windrow.

Visit for more information on how The City clears snow.

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