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Private Snow Clearing

Each winter, the MD’s Transportation department provides residents an opt-in snowplow flag service that allows their driveways to be cleared following a snowfall. Flags can be purchased at both the main Administration Office in Slave Lake and the sub-office in Flatbush during regular business hours.

Not All Roadways are Our Responsibility

The MD is responsible for range roadstownship roads and subdivision roads. Alberta Transportation is responsible for clearing and maintaining all provincial highways within our borders.

How the Snowplow Flag Program Works

Opt in to the snowplow flag program and MD crews will clear your property's driveway following a snowfall. Before you apply, take a moment to review these simple ground rules.

Purchase Your Snowplow Flags

Snowplow flags can be purchased during regular business hours at either the Main MD Administration Office in Slave Lake or the MD Sub-office in Flatbush.

Each snowplow flag costs $42.50 plus GST each (or half price for seniors), and is good for one instance of snow clearance. Payment can be made by cheque, Interac or cash. Remember that you also need to submit a snowplowing agreement at the time of purchase.

Submit a Snowplowing Agreement

To purchase snowplow flags and participate in the program, you need to complete a Private Driveway Snowplowing Agreement. This document certifies that you understand and agree with the program parameters.

Place a Flag to Request a Clearing

When you require your property to be cleared of snow, just place a purchased flag at the end of your driveway to indicate that the service is requested. Under normal conditions, this service is fulfilled 3 to 4 days following a snowfall. Please keep in mind that municipal roads take priority.

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Protocols and Priorities for Snow Clearing

The MD's road maintenance program includes snow and ice control to ensure the safety of the traveling public. To perform these tasks efficiently, MD crews follow standard procedures.

After a snowfall event, MD crews begin clearing snow and ice from the roads under their control. It can take between 8 and 12 hours to clear priority roads, and about three days for all MD-managed roads to be cleared (depending on accumulation). A larger or continuous snowfall event may extend the time necessary to clear snow from all local roads.

Please Don't Call During a Snow Event

Kindly refrain from calling the MD during the first day of a snow event. Our response teams follow established plans and routes for clearing snow.

Unfortunately, the MD cannot accommodate individual calls requesting snow removal. The priority is to clear the MD-managed road network as quickly as possible. When the snow falls, please drive in accordance to the conditions and allow for extra drive time.

FAQs

What equipment does the MD use for snow & ice control?

Our winter road maintenance response team is equipped with:

  • three pieces of combination road plowing and de-icing equipment
  • five road plowing graders
  • one front-end loader
  • two tractors

This team maintains the MD's 600-plus kilometres of roadway, plus all municipally owned buildings including complex parking lots.

After the snowfall ends, it can take 8 to 12 hours to clear priority roads and approximately 4 days for all municipal roads. A larger or continuous snowfall event may extend the time necessary to clear snow from all local roads.

Which roads are plowed first and why?

Roads are categorized into seven groups or “priorities”.

Priority One roads carry the higher volumes of traffic and are most easily identified as major arterial roads. These are the roads people use to get to business areas and in and out of the municipality.

Priority Two roads are industrial roads, fire halls and water treatment and sewer facilities.

Priority Three roads are major collector roads. These Three priorities are usually done within two working days of a snow fall and include most school bus routes.

Priority 1, 2 & 3 roads take precedence

Priority 1, 2 & 3 roads are usually done within two working days of a snow fall and include most school bus routes.

Priority Four roads are minor collector roads and hamlets.

Priority Five roads include local roads and farm access roads.

Priority Six is snow flags.

Priority Seven includes community complexes.

Important Note

If another snowfall event occurs before all seven priority areas can be cleared, crews will start back at the Priority One routes and will continue sequentially from there.

For example: if there is a snow event on a Monday and the plows get priority 1, 2 & 3 roads completed by Wednesday, but 15 centimetres of snow falls Wednesday evening, the municipality will start back at priority one roads on Thursday to ensure all major routes are accessible. Also while every effort is made to ensure that school bus routes are completed as soon as possible, it does not have a bearing on the priority of snow clearing.

Why doesn't the MD sand or salt gravel roads?

Salt draws the frost out of the ground once temperatures start to rise above -15 degrees. This can cause uneven and premature thawing of the gravel roads, creating more of a mess than ice. The MD mixes salt in with all our road sand, so it is not applied to gravel roads. Ice blading and driving to winter conditions is a more effective way to manage ice on gravel roads. On paved roads, sand is only effective when the wind speed is low enough not to blow it off the road surface.

The MD applies salted sand to paved roads when temperatures and wind speeds permit. If needed, we will increase the ratio of salt to sand to ensure the best results possible.

Why does the plow truck leave a windrow across my driveway?

Windrows are left when snow falls over the edge of the plow blade as the truck passes driveways. While these are annoying and inconvenient, clearing each approach as it is passed, greatly increases the time needed to clear snow directly after a snow event. Currently, MD policy does not require operators to clear the windrow from approaches unless they are over 75 centimeters high. However, our practice is to remove them when time and weather conditions permit after all other priorities have been cleared.

Who clears around community mailboxes?

Canada Post is responsible for clearing the snow and ice around the community mailboxes. If snow is preventing you from accessing your mailbox, you can request snow clearance online by creating a service ticket on the Canada Post website.

Who clears around fire hydrants?

Residents are asked that they do not pile snow from their driveway or private property in such a way that covers fire hydrants. Cleaning around fire hydrants is a team effort in the MD. Property owners are strongly encouraged to clear snow from fire hydrants on or around their property to ensure Lesser Slave Lake Fire Services can quickly gain access in the event of a fire. Should a resident not be able to clean the snow; then firefighters and/ or municipal staff undertake the snow removal periodically throughout the season.

What can I do to help?
  • Be patient. In heavy snowfalls it takes us longer to get all our roads cleared.
  • Be a good neighbour, help those who may not be able to shovel their driveways and sidewalks.
  • Don't park on the street during a snowfall or immediately following a snowfall if plowing is still needed. Plow operators are not able to do their job properly if there are parked vehicles in the way. Keep a safe distance from plow trucks on the roads and do not attempt to pass. Vehicles attempting to pass create a safety risk for everyone on the road.
  • Don't place snow from sidewalks or driveways on the street it creates a hazard for vehicles. The MD's Bylaws prohibit the placing of snow or ice on a roadway.
  • If you feel that your road has not been receiving the attention it should submit a service request via the MD website.
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