Winter Road Maintenance FAQ
When winter hits, the MD’s snowplow operators work to keep the MD’s 600+ kilometers of roadways clear, safe, and open to traffic. The MD is committed to maintaining safe winter driving conditions, but drivers and property owners have a role to play too.
While the MD understands the need for everyone to get where they're going, the response team must adhere to the priority snow clearing sequence. Kindly refrain from calling the MD Administration Office after a snowfall; rest assured we're doing our utmost to clear the way! Please review the FAQ below for an insight into the MD’s snow removal strategy.
How do roads get cleared after it snows?
After a snowfall event, the MD’s response team begins clearing the snow and ice from roadways. It can take between 8 and 12 hours to clear priority roads, and about 4 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.
What type of equipment is used for clearing roads?
The MD’s response team is equipped with:
- 3 pieces of combination road plowing and de-icing equipment;
- 5 road plowing graders;
- 1 front-end loader; and
- 2 tractors.
The response team maintains the Municipality’s 600+ kms of roadway, plus all municipally-owned buildings including complex parking lots.
Which roads are plowed first and why?
MD-managed roads are plowed in priority sequence as described below. The first three priorities are usually tackled (including most school bus routes) within two working days of a snowfall event.
- Priority 1 roads carry the higher volumes of traffic and are most easily identified as major arterial roads. Motorists use these roads to visit business areas or travel to and from the municipality.
- Priority 2 roads are industrial roads; fire halls; and water treatment and sewage facilities.
- Priority 3 roads are major collector roads.
- Priority 4 roads are minor collector roads and Hamlets.
- Priority 5 roads are local roads and farm access roads.
- Priority 6 roads are snowplow flag roads
- Priority 7 involves clearing community complexes
Please note that if a weather event happens before all seven priority levels are completed, the rotation resets to Priority 1 — even if lower-priority roads have not been completed. For example:
- It snows on Monday, and MD crews begin to plow on Tuesday
- Priority 1, 2 and 3 roads are cleared by Wednesday, but another 15 cm of snow falls
- On Thursday, MD crews start on priority 1 roads to ensure all major routes are accessible
Please note: the MD makes every effort to clear school bus routes as soon as possible; however, MD crews must adhere to the snow removal priority sequence in the interest of public safety.
Why does the plow truck leave a windrow across my driveway?
Windrows are ridges left when snow spills over the edge of a plow blade. Granted, they are annoying and inconvenient; but stopping to address each windrow occurrence would greatly increase the time needed to clear MD roads after a snow event. MD policy does not presently require operators to clear the windrow from an approach unless it is more than 75 cm high. However, our practice is to tackle windrows when time and weather conditions permit —and once all other priority roads have been cleared.
Why does the MD not apply sand or salt to 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 are far more effective ways 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.
Who is responsible for clearing snow around Canada Post community mailboxes? Canada Post is responsible for clearing the snow and ice around its community mailboxes. If snow prevents you from accessing your mailbox, you can submit a service request to Canada Post via their website: Canada Post - Service ticket submitted - (canadapost-postescanada.ca).
Who is responsible for clearing snow from 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 MDLSR. Property owners are strongly encouraged to clear snow from fire hydrants on or near their property to ensure 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 will undertake the snow removal periodically throughout the season.
What can I do make snow removal faster/easier/safer?
- Please be patient. The heavier the snowfall, the longer it takes to clear all MD-managed roads.
- 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 cannot do their jobs properly if parked vehicles are in the way.
- Keep a safe distance from plow trucks on the roads.
- Never attempt to pass a plow truck. Doing so creates a considerable safety risk for everyone on the road.
- Don't push snow from sidewalks or driveways onto a road surface (MD Bylaws prohibit this practice). It may seem harmless enough — but when vehicles encounter ridges or piles of snow on the road, they can easily lose control.
- If you feel that your road has not received the attention or priority it warrants, please submit an online request at MDLSR.ca/action.
Director of Field Services
|ryan.tufts (@) mdlsr.ca|
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