MONTREAL - Montreal motorists are advised to be extra-vigilant during the next few days about where they leave their cars.

The city's massive snow-clearance operation has shifted from major arteries to small residential streets and as a result, many will be asked to move their cars or face fines.

Special fluorescent orange signs are being laid into snow banks and attached onto signs warning drivers to vacate certain spots to allow for snow clearance.

By custom, a tow truck rings a last-chance siren to further warn the owners of such waylaid vehicles before they get towed away.

The city has offered free parking at 5,700 special parking spots for such occasions, mostly on the east side of the city.

If your car gets towed, you will be ticketed to the tune of somewhere around $80 to $127 depending on several factors, such as whether the car was parked on a primary or secondary street, whether it was parked on an angle and so forth.

To locate your towed vehicle phone 514-872-3777 or punch your license plate number into the city's website.

City workers took off 36 hours of break as mandated by law but are back on the job today.

Three thousand employees are toiling away on 2,220 pieces of machinery, clearing snow from roads and the 10,000 km of sidewalks.

To put that distance into perspective, imagine clearing a sidewalk from Montreal over the Atlantic Ocean all the way to Tokyo, a similar distance away.

City representative Jacques-Alain Lavallée said that the operations are going well thus far and that the sudden and intense snowfall has offered useful practice and training for some of the newer employees on the snow-clearing crew.

The eventual price tag for clearing the 45 centimetres of snow has been roughly predicted to be around $25 million, based on fact that a 20 cm snowfall costs about $17 million to clear.

-With a file from The Canadian Press