Using Nature to Keep Roads Safe
photos and text by City of Ottawa
TThe City of Ottawa offers a unique program that uses the environment to combat the environment. The Alternative Snow Fence Program encourages farmers and landowners to leave strategically placed cornrows in the field after the harvest. In the winter, these rows act as a natural snow barrier, keeping our roads clear and safe.
You may have noticed these cornrows along open roadways last winter. They are typically 12 rows deep and located at least 20 m from the shoulder of the road. The corn acts as a wind and snow barrier. This helps to keep the amount of ice and drifting snow on our roads to a minimum and means plows do not have to pass by as often. Using corn as a natural barrier is environmentally friendly, cost effective and critical to keeping drivers safe.
The City pays landowners to leave these rows of corn in the field – recognizing that corn fences are as effective at preventing blowing snow as traditional orange or wood slat snow fences.
“This is a great opportunity for us to partner with members of the community in a goal we all share,” said Luc Gagné, Director of Roads and Parking Services, “and that is maintaining safer roads for our neighbours, friends and loved ones.”
The City is looking at expanding the program for increased safety in 2019/2020. If you are a landowner and would be interested in participating in the Alternative Snow Fence program with the City, contact 3-1-1 to learn more.