Road maintenance during the winter months is primarily dealing with road hazards the present an immediate danger to the public. The biggest concern is roads becoming rough, especially once frost establishes deep in the roads after the month of December. Controls for this includes placing warning signs or flags to warn motorist of rough roads. When a chinook arrives and temperatures rise above freezing graders will be dispatch to smooth out rough roads.
Winter chinooks will occasionally create water run-off situations from melting snow. The County is equipped with two heated pressure washers that are capable of thawing frozen culverts to keep water draining in road ditches.
The County installs approximately 2600 meters of snow fences late in the fall though out the County of Newell. Location are selected based on roads that drift badly (become impassable), due to hills, low roads and vegetation.
Truck drivers are tasked with stockpiling gravel for our summer graveling program. The County’s current sources of gravel are located in the North end of the region and gravel resources are hauled to south locations during the winter months. There are stockpiles located in the Tilley and Rolling Hills areas and about 5000 cubic meters of gravel are hauled to each location.
Snow and Ice Control for paved road surfaces and Hamlets is completed using a fleet of five (5) heavy trucks, two (2) small trucks, and nine (9) staff. In order to meet severe winter maintenance demands, staff members can operate all trucks on the road for improved service delivery. Each of the heavy trucks can be assigned a primary response area which is approximately 40 Km’s (80 lane Km’s) of road. Plows are utilized to remove the accumulated snow from the surface, while an application of calcium, salt & sand placement assists in de-icing road surfaces; improving traction for motor vehicles. Without calcium application motor vehicle generated draft and nature's winds can blow salt & sand from the road surface. It is important to note that calcium, salt & sand application is typical at intersections, otherwise applied only where ice has formed on the driving surface.
For your own safety, and reduced risk of being blasted with sand, never follow any closer than 30 meters behind a plow truck. Never pass a plow truck as the visibility of oncoming traffic may be restricted. Plow trucks will pull over to allow motorists to pass where safe to do so.
In addition to this, seven (7) graders maintain the gravel road surfaces operating in their assigned grader operator routes. There are a number of practices utilized, as well as a number of attachments available to perform snow removal on gravel road surfaces. In response to light accumulations a grader with its blade down, 25mm above the road surface is utilized to clear the driving lanes. Response to an event, with say one (1) meter of snow, may require operators to utilize a plow attachment. Once driving surfaces are passable, grader operators will begin a second round to wing back snow utilizing their side wing attachment. This pushes snow back past the shoulder and into the ditches for future events and aides in reducing drifting of snow.
For your own safety never follow any closer than 30 meters behind a grader. Never pass a grader as visibility of oncoming traffic may be restricted and at times where drifts are present the equipment may instantly change course of direction beyond the operator's control. Graders will pull over periodically and where safe to do so to allow motorists to pass.