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February 20, 2013

Amendments to the Minimum Maintenance Standards - Part 2

This week we continue our review of the amendments to the Minimum Maintenance Standards which came into effect on January 25, 2013.

Part 2: New Requirement to Monitor Weather

The MMS did not previously require weather monitoring, although municipalities generally did so as part of winter maintenance operations.  The MMS now require municipalities to monitor the weather, both current and forecast for the next 24 hours.  From October 1 to April 30, weather must be monitored three or more times per day, at intervals determined by the municipality.  From May 1 to September 30, weather must be monitored once per day.  This amendment is clearly a response to Giuliani, in which the municipality was faulted for failing to monitor the weather and deploy resources in time to avoid the formation of ice on the road. 
The MMS definition of weather as “air temperature, wind and precipitation” tells municipalities what to monitor but the MMS do not state how this is to be done.  In addition, the MMS allow municipalities to determine the intervals at which the weather is monitored.  While these factors will allow monitoring systems to reflect local conditions, including budgetary constraints, we can expect to see claims challenging municipal decisions about the intervals at which weather is monitored and the methods used to do so.

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