Chances are that you've slipped on Montreal's icy sidewalks at least once this year, leading to either a really bad bruise or, for some, a trip to the emergency room. We've all complained and grumbled about the maintenance of the streets during the winter, but nothing is really done except the city sending tiny trucks out to drop another sheet of salt.
TL;DR Despite icy sidewalks causing most of the serious injuries in Montreal this season, the city has been laying down the same amount of salt regardless of the amount of ice, making no real difference in conditions outdoors. More details below.
Well, it turns out that Montreal has been putting down the same amount of salt regardless of weather, and it doesn't look like that will change anytime soon.
According to TVA, contracts given to the city over the last three years have required too little salt for any actual progress or safer conditions outside to last. On two different occasions, Montreal's mayor, Valérie Plante, called for the execution of salting the icy and dangerous sidewalks to be "flawless."
However, the snow removal contracts created in 2016 have left a lot of room for flaws. Contractors always apply the same amount of salt and other abrasives on icy sidewalks in five of Montreal's boroughs. The exact measurement is 150 grams of salt per square meter regardless of the level of ice.
During the week-long period when Montreal received a major freeze and would have required 300g/meter of salt to control the icy sidewalks, the city continue to lay down the same amount of salt as always, according to TVA.
A contract to correct the situation was added in 2017, but it only advises that 150g/meter should be a minimum, with the maximum being 300g/meter. Contractors regularly skimp on salt to save money, and currently the city is doing nothing to stop them from doing so.
Stay tuned to see if Montreal finally solves their major ice issue before winter is over.