Road maintenance includes gravel, snow removal, dust control, pothole patching and brush removal.
Gravel Road Maintenance Program
The County of Grande Prairie has experienced unusual weather over the last year. Summer was extremely wet, there were very wet and snowy conditions early in the fall, and there has also been several freeze / thaw cycles since then.
All of these factors have created poor gravel road conditions, including muddy roads and deep ruts, particularly during the spring thaw currently taking place. This has made it difficult for those traveling, especially in smaller vehicles.
The weather has also made it very difficult for maintenance crews to work on repairs and grading because crews cannot go on the roads without potentially causing more damage when soil is wet and temperatures rise above 0 C.
Prevention Efforts and Road Maintenance Plan
The County has taken several steps to mitigate damage to our gravel roads. This includes the following:
- Putting in place a 24-hour road ban on all County gravel roads for vehicles 50 per cent in axle weight or higher until further notice.
- Twenty (20) graders working extended hours during times when temperatures fall below 0 C and when roads are dry enough to complete grading on the County’s vast network of nearly 3,200 km
- Six (6) crews dedicated to thawing frozen culverts
- Early access to a pit in the beginning of March 2017 for crews to obtain gravel to maintain and repair roads. The County usually does not have access to the pit until May.
How You Can Help
- Abide by all road bans in place.
- Have patience with road repair crews, including when passing them on gravel roads.
- If you encounter an area of the County that requires the County’s immediate attention such as roads flooding, washed out or frozen culverts or significant road damage that impedes travel or has a significant risk to safety and property, please contact the Public Works 24-hour Emergency Line at 780-532-7393.
- If you have a non-emergency related question or concern, contact Public Works at 780-532-9722 during regular business hours of Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding holidays.
The Parks & Recreation department is responsible for the removal of snow from County trails. For more information please call 780-532-9727.
Ninety-six per cent of the County's roadways are gravel, totalling approximately 3,165 kilometres.
Each year, on a rotating basis, the County re-gravels approximately 1,062 kilometres of road using 220,000 tonnes of gravel.
The gravel haul is contracted annually.
The County maintains over 300 bridges and bridge culverts, and employs a certified Class "B" Bridge Inspector to assess the status of its bridges.
All primary and secondary highways are the responsibility of and maintained by Alberta Transportation. If you have questions or concerns about maintenance of these roads please contact Alberta Transportation at 780-538-5310. For updated highway conditions and reports, please call 5-1-1 or visit 511.alberta.ca.
The County employs a dedicated snow removal crew which is made up of 20 graders, 5 plow trucks, 3 large tractors, and 3 loaders which clear and maintain over 3,600 kilometres of paved and gravel roads.
Reasonable efforts are made to clear all rural roads within five days following a significant snow fall. Multiple snow fall events may alter the snow clearing cycle and require extended hours or days to complete.
As per the Winter Road Maintenance Policy, roadways in the County are cleared of snow based on the following categories:
|Arterial Paved Roads||Roads that feed directly into the provincial highway system and have traffic volumes of 300 vehicles per day or higher.||Snowplowing starts when snow accumulation reaches 3-4 cm.|
|Arterial and Local Gravel Roads||Roads that service subdivisions, local residential areas, and rural roads that have traffic volumes of less than 300 vehicles per day.||
Snowplowing starts when snow accumulation reaches 10-15 cm. The County's goal is to have these roads cleared within five days following a snow fall.
Paved hamlet roads within the County. These include:
Snowplowing starts when snow accumulation reaches 10-15 cm. The County's goal is to have these roads cleared within 12 days following a snow fall.
Major collector roads within Hamlets are given priority for snow removal.
|Farmland Access||Roads that provide access to farmland only (no residences).||Roads will be plowed twice per year, upon request, unless they are being used frequently and require additional plowing.|
|Driveways||Snowplow services for seniors & physically disabled individuals.||The County also provides snowplow services to more than 400 residents through our Seniors Snow Plow Program. These driveways are only plowed after all major County roads have been cleared.|
If necessary (i.e.: if snowfall becomes continuous and exceed the allowable accumulation), resources will be rotated back to the arterial roads without finishing local gravel roads. Example: A local gravel road may be stopped mid-stream to commence maintenance of arterial paved roads.
For more information on snow removal on County roads, contact the Public Works department at 780-532-7393.
How You Can Help
- During periods of heavy snowfall or other extreme weather conditions, please have patience as crews work to clear snow from your area as quickly as possible.
- Please use extreme caution when approaching snow removal equipment and, reduce your speed around plows, graders, and other equipment.
- When near snow removal equipment, motorists and pedestrians are advised to follow the safety tips below:
- Stay three care lengths behind equipment to allow for a safe stopping distance.
- Never cut off a snow plow.
- Assume the snow plow driver has NOT seen you.
- If you see a snow plow, move off the sidewalk and into a yard where you can be seen.
- Do NOT play on, or make forts or tunnels in roadside snow banks.
- NEVER approach a snow plow, even when it has stopped.
- Avoid pushing snow from private property onto the roads in order to help speed up the snow clearing process.
- Watch for snow removal signs in your neighbourhood and ensure your vehicles are not parked on the roadside while crews are at work clearing your street.