Snow removal operation
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Snow Plowing and Removal

Note: Sidewalks adjacent to commercial or residential properties must be cleared by the owners, occupants or tenants within 48 hours after a snowfall.

Winter Maintenance Zone Update

The 2019 - 2020 WMZ season, including on-street parking restrictions, will begin Oct. 15. However, activation of the zones and subzones will be dependent on the weather and the need for maintenance. Residents will be notified before Winter Maintenance Zones are activated. 

Residents are reminded that the WMZ program affects residential streets only. Crews will continue to maintain primary and secondary routes as required throughout the season. 


Winter Operations Book Thumbnail

View map package of Winter Maintenance Zones Winter Operations Manual: Priorities and weekly snow-plowed streets.

Other Downloads

Snow Disposal Permit Applications
Route and Haul Application

Note: The Planning Department may require up to two weeks for processing Route Haul permit applications.

Throughout the winter season, the Municipality makes every effort to ensure that roadways are kept safe and passable for everyone, ensuring all service levels are maintained including emergency services and transit.

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. Primary, secondary and tertiary routes will be maintained more than once a week as appropriate, while residential streets will follow the Winter Maintenance Zone schedules.

  • Primary Routes – include Thickwood Boulevard, Confederation Way, the downtown business area (Morrison Street, Hardin Street), Franklin Avenue, Hospital Street and MacKenzie Boulevard.
  • Secondary Routes – include school zones, urban transit routes and main accesses to neighbourhoods.
  • Tertiary Routes - these roads have geometric or alignment features that require occasional service to improve user safety, such as steep or narrow roads.
  • 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). Residential streets fall under the Winter Maintenance Zone program

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.

For this program, Fort McMurray’s residential neighborhoods have been divided into five Winter Maintenance Zones, one for each weekday. From Oct. 15 to April 15, each neighborhood’s Zone will be active on the same weekday, every week. On the day that each Zone is active, crews will plow the streets, clear any snow they may have placed on sidewalks, and perform other routine maintenance as required to maintain safe, accessible roadways for residents, emergency vehicles, transit, and municipal equipment. To assist in this process, on-street parking will not be available in each Zone on the day that it is active.

Plowing Priorities

  1. During a snowstorm, primary routes will be plowed continuously.
  2. Secondary routes will be plowed after primary routes, followed by high-volume intersections and turning lanes.
  3. 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.)
  4. Snow accumulation of four centimetres 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.
  5. 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-Hauling Priorities

  1. Snow will be removed from primary and secondary routes where there is limited on-street storage.
  2. Snow may be hauled from residential streets when the remaining parking and driving width is reduced to 5.5 metres.
  3. Where stop and yield signs exist, the first 15 metres of streets will be plowed to both sides.
  4. Height of windrowed snow will not exceed one meter in order to maintain sight lines and visibility.
  5. During snow hauling, street signs will be posted a minimum of 48 hours in advance.
  6. 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.

Sanding Priorities

  1. During a storm, primary and secondary routes will be sanded as required on a continual basis.
  2. 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
  3. Residential streets may be sanded if warranted.

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 municipally 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 and 881. For more information on highways, phone 1-800-390-2242 or follow the province on Twitter at @ABTransComm

The Municipality is responsible for maintaining all roads – including the Fort Chipewyan Winter Road, La Loche Winter Trail, and Highway 69 (renamed Saprae Creek Trail) – as well as airstrips, bridges, public sidewalks, traffic lights and rights of way, except for Primary Highway 63 and Secondary Highway 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. Visit the Snow Angels Program web page to register, or contact Pulse at 780-743-7000, toll-free at 1-800-973-9663 or

Contact Information

Phone (Fort McMurray area): 780-743-7000
Phone (rural areas): 1-800-973-9663

FLOOD RECOVERY: Information and resources