Road Priorities and Turnaround Time
During the winter months comes the challenge of snow removal on County roads and private driveways. The direction that County crews are given have the plow trucks clearing all the paved surfaces first to be followed by sanding or chipping where necessary. The graders do a sweep through their beats from north to south, or east to west to be repeated in the reverse order after the next snow fall. Once the trucks have completed clearing the paved surfaces they then go on to the gravel roads to work counter point to the graders to ensure that the roads will at least have the centers cleared until the grader can get there to wing and clear driveways. The normal turnaround time for a grader beat, including driveways, is approximately seven days. Therefore even if it snows the day after snow removal was completed on a road, the grader may not be back until the seventh day, but in the meantime a truck may clear the center of the road.
Meeting Graders on Roads
The County operators have been instructed that when meeting traffic that a certain etiquette should be followed by both the grader operator and the traveling public. This involves both paying close attention to what the other is doing. In the case of meeting a grader on a narrow gravel road, the operator of the vehicle should slow down and then see if there is an area or approach that they can pull into to allow the grader to pass by. If this is not possible the grader operators have been instructed to slow down as well and side shift their blade and or stop if necessary to allow the traffic to pass by. The same procedure is followed when meeting plow trucks on narrow gravel roads. The key to both situations is to SLOW DOWN and WATCH what the other is doing.
When approaching a grader from behind you should ensure that the operator has seen you or motioned for you to pass. The operators have been instructed to let you pass when it is convenient and safe, so this may mean that you have to follow for a while. The same procedure applies with the plow trucks. They are instructed to find a safe place to pull over if traffic is building up behind them.
Driveway Snow Removal
Brazeau County has a driveway snow removal program which allows residents (excluding hamlets) to sign up for limited snow removal. This service has several important points that people should take note of prior to applying.
The removal of snow from private driveways is the lowest priority for County equipment in the event of a heavy snowfall. Although the County will usually try to clear roads and driveways as they go through an area, should there be a major snow fall only the roads will be cleared and equipment will have to return to clear approaches and driveways.
Driveway snow clearing does not involve "custom snow clearing of yards". It involves a pass in and out on the driveway. If custom cleaning is required the resident should make arrangements with private operators.
The same applies to emergent situations as private driveway snow removal is not the priority for the County if there is an emergency alternate arrangements should be made.
In summary the County maintains approximately 1,300 km of roads. This is completed with three plow trucks and seven graders and takes approximately seven days after a major snowfall to have everything completed. As the County has agreements for over 1,000 driveways, the total time spent on just driveways amounts to approximately two of the seven days required for snow removal. Although, with the help of the trucks, most roads will be cleared in their centres within three to four days under normal conditions, it is important that the travelling public and residents of the County understand these procedures. Should you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact the Public Works Department at 780-542-7711.