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Shared Road Maintenance Responsibilities

Snow removal across Lesser Slave River is undertaken by both the municipal and provincial levels of government. Our crews and contractors clear snow from MD-managed roadways, while Alberta Transportation contractors are responsible for snow removal on provincial highways in the region.

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.

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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 from 1 to 3 days to clear priority 1 to 4 roads, and about four 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.

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 to be cleared. 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 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

These three priorities are usually done within two working days of a snow fall and include most school bus routes.

Priority Four roads include 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 fire fighters and/ or municipal staff will 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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