WHERE / WHEN DO THE PLOWS START?
Naturally everyone wants to be first when the clearing begins. To make things fair – there is a different start and end point every time. This way – no one is always first, and no one is always last on the route. There are a total of 13 grader routes in the County that each cover 200 kilometers of roads.
During a winter storm, plows, graders and operators get ready for action – but – no plowing starts until the storm event STOPS. It’s better to wait until the plowing will be effective, even though it’s understandable that everyone wishes it could start sooner. Starting sooner is not always better – there are temperatures and times where plowing is simply not effective.
Timing can be severely affected by the amount of snow, temperature, continuing bad weather such as wind causing drifts or by poor visibility. If the visibility means motorists and plow or grader operators can’t see each other, plowing will be delayed until the visibility improves, for everyone’s safety on the road. Once the plowing rotations begin, plows won’t return to a road until the entire rotation is complete.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO CLEAR THE ROADS AFTER A SNOWSTORM
This varies. If there is a lot of snow, or if the snow is heavy and moist, or if there is a strong wind, it can take longer to move the snow and fight drifts – and can take several days to complete road clearing. Generally, it takes 40 hours per round and one day for cleanup. On average, about 2,500 equipment hours are spent yearly on sanding and plowing, with 4,500 metric tonnes of sand and salt being used on County roads and 21,000 hours of grader time on gravel road maintenance. The County will bring in extra help if it is required.
WILL THE COUNTY SEND A PLOW TO YOUR ROAD IF YOU CALL TO ASK?The answer is – no. Just imagine how much time and money could be spent by sending plows off the route to respond to every plea from a resident or business. The best thing to do is let plows and graders stick to their route. The priority is to clear the County’s road network as efficiently and quickly as possible, followed by general cleanup.
If you are truly experiencing a medical emergency situation – don’t call the County – please call 911. The County follows a protocol when dealing with emergency situations. Should there be a need to send assistance to clear your road and get you out – this call is made by emergency responders and the County will do its part.
WHAT IF I NEED TO GET TO TOWN AND THE ROADS ARE IMPASSABLE?
If you have a medical condition or if you have a job where you are required to get to town every day – please plan ahead for unexpected bad weather. Listen to the weather forecast and make your plans accordingly. Most rural residents know that when they choose to live in the country, getting snowed in can happen. Any and all roads can become impassable with extreme weather and it’s important to have food and supplies to last for several days during a bad storm.
ARE BUS ROUTES PLOWED FIRST?
Some people think the schedule is set by school bus-routes, however, school buses travel on so many miles or roads that it is impossible to assign a priority to one bus route over another. After a significant snow fall, school buses and other types of vehicles may not be able to travel during these times, and will also have to wait for plowing to be completed.