Snow Plowing and Removal
Winter Operations Manual (2015/2016): Priorities and weekly snow-plowed streets.
Note: The Planning Department may require up to two weeks for processing Route Haul permit applications.
Throughout the winter season, the staff and management of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo will continue to make every effort to ensure that roadways are kept safe and passable for everyone.
Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Routes
Snow plowing and removal priorities are based on traffic volume, usage and location within the transportation system. Primary routes take first priority, followed by secondary routes. (See maps above.) Primary and secondary routes will be maintained more than once a week as appropriate, while residential streets will follow the Winter Maintenance Zone schedules. Winter Maintenance Zone schedules.
- Primary Routes – include Thickwood Boulevard; Confederation Way; downtown business center (Morrison Street, Hardin Street); Franklin Avenue; Hospital Street; Abasand Hill, and MacKenzie Boulevard.
- Secondary Routes – include school zones, urban transit routes and main access to neighbourhoods.
- Tertiary Routes - have geometric or alignment features that require occasional service to improve road user safety, such as roads with steep narrow hills (Killdeer Way, Wolverine Drive, Rowan Street).
- Residential Streets – include lightly trafficked streets that are mainly built up on both sides with a mix of residential and local facilities (Birch Road, Diefenbaker Drive, Hillcrest Drive).
Winter Maintenance Zones
Winter Maintenance Zones have been created in Fort McMurray’s residential neighbourhoods to facilitate snow removal and other routine maintenance while providing consistency to residents who rely on on-street parking.
From October 15 to April 15 of the following year, one Winter Maintenance Zone per weekday will be activated for snow plowing on residential streets, to take place from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Activation days will vary by neighbourhood, based on the Zone where they are located. While your Winter Maintenance Zone is active, on-street parking will not be available, allowing Public Works to plow the residential streets, clear any snow that we place on your sidewalks and perform other routine maintenance.
- During a snowstorm, primary routes will be plowed continuously.
- Secondary routes will be plowed after primary routes, followed by high-volume intersections and turning lanes.
- The first 15 metres from all stop and yield signs will be plowed to both sides of the street. (This will only be done after primary and secondary streets are completely plowed.)
- Snow accumulation of 4 cm or more will be removed from designated trails, sidewalks, parking lots, stairs and boardwalks within 48 hours. Aggregates and ice-melting products will be applied as required.
- Residential streets will be plowed as per the Winter Maintenance Zone schedule. Plowing will be to both sides of the street, adjacent to the curb. Driveway access is the responsibility of the resident or property owner.
- Snow will be removed from primary and secondary routes where there is limited on-street storage.
- Snow may be hauled from residential streets when the remaining parking and driving width is reduced to 5.5 metres.
- Where stop and yield signs exist, the first 15 metres of streets will be plowed to both sides.
- Height of windrowed snow will not exceed one meter in order to maintain sight lines and visibility.
- During snow hauling, street signs will be posted a minimum of 48 hours in advance.
- Snow removal on residential streets will be done as warranted. High-density residential areas, safety concerns and sight line areas will be completed on a priority basis. Some exceptions may apply due to specific street configurations and weather trends.
- During a storm, primary and secondary routes will be sanded as required on a continual basis.
- Residential streets may be sanded if warranted.
- The first 15 metres of streets from all stop and yield signs will be sanded as required. This will only be done after primary and secondary streets are completed.
Keeping Our Sidewalks and Pathways Clear
Keeping our sidewalks and pathways clear and safe for pedestrians is a priority for the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, but residents should be aware that this is a shared responsibility.
Public Works takes care of winter maintenance on sidewalks and trails that border municipal-owned land. Certain routes will be prioritized, starting with sidewalks bordering schools and Emergency facilities (Fire Halls and RCMP). Sidewalks along Primary and Secondary Routes such as Confederation Way, Thickwood Boulevard and parts of Franklin Avenue will be cleaned next, followed by parts of the city’s extensive trail system.
Groups that use the trails during the winter (such as the Ptarmigan Ski Club) assist with grooming duties.
Sidewalks adjacent to commercial or residential properties must be cleared by the owners, occupants or tenants within 48 hours after a snowfall.
Snow placed on sidewalks by municipal equipment during winter maintenance operations will be cleared by the Public Works team.
Residents are responsible for clearing snow in their driveways, including the windrow at the end of their driveway. This approach has been modelled on best-practices from other municipalities in Alberta.
If a property has any kind of building adjacent to or erected within three metres of any highway or public place, accumulated snow or ice on the roof or eaves that poses a danger must be immediately removed with due precaution taken to warn and protect passersby. If any premises has an awning extending to any degree over a highway, it must be kept free of snow and ice; if water does drip from the awing, the owner/occupant/tenant must clean it up to prevent ice from forming.
Alberta Transportation is responsible for the maintenance of Highways 63, 69 and 881.
For more information on highways, phone 1-800-390-2242
The Public Infrastructure Division is responsible for maintaining all roads (including the La Loche Winter Road), airstrips, bridges, public sidewalks, traffic lights and rights of way, except for Primary Highway 63 and Secondary Highways 60 and 881, which are under the jurisdiction of Alberta Transportation.
Snow Shovelling for Seniors
The Snow Angels Program, a volunteer service, is available for seniors 65 years and older. To register, contact Nicole Martyn-Dickinson by calling at 780-743-7917 or emailing email@example.com.
Monday to Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m
Urban area: 780-743-7859
Rural area: 1-866-743-7859