The Bruce County Winter Road Conditions and Closures Reporting started November 19 2018
The objective of this Policy is to establish a desirable Level of Service for Winter Maintenance on Bruce County Roads. The County recognizes Ontario Regulation 239/02 made under the Municipal Act entitled "Minimum Maintenance Standards for Municipal Highways". This Standard focuses on response time and a completion time for the winter maintenance activity. The County also wishes to recognize a higher level of maintenance on Class 2 & 3 roads. This higher level of maintenance consists of an objective to reach a "center bare" surface condition. For the purpose of winter maintenance, Bruce County roads are considered classified as described on the attached map entitled 'Road Classification'.
The County Highway Department will attempt to provide the best winter maintenance efforts given the resources available and given the weather conditions. Yet, during certain hours and under certain weather conditions roads may become snow covered. Drivers will be expected to use extra care in these situations.
The County will not be able to maintain the roads in the same condition as they are in the summer, and traffic will be expected to reduce speed to suit the weather and road conditions. The Level of Service for Winter Maintenance on County Roads has a major impact on the economy and quality of life for County residents. The objective of the County Transportation and Environmental Services Department will be to provide the best winter maintenance policy given the resources available for winter control purposes and given the weather conditions. It is understood that budgets for winter maintenance activities are based on average weather conditions and that the actual expenditures may be higher or lower than budgeted. It is also understood that the quality of winter maintenance on any road is dependent on the following factors: air and ground temperature; sunlight; wind speed; wind direction; snow fall; freezing rain; topography; road surface; traffic volumes; and manpower, materials and equipment available to provide winter control services. There may be substantial variations in the level of service provided due to these factors.
Under certain circumstances, the Department may be unable to keep a road open due to large drifts, accidents, visibility, etc. In these circumstances it may be necessary for the Department to consider having the road officially closed. It should be acknowledged that, in consultation with the Transportation and Environmental Services Department, it is ultimately the decision of the Ontario Provincial Police under Section 134 of the Highway Traffic Act (R.S.O. 1990) to officially close or re-open a road.
There may be storm events, which create situations where continuing operations would be hazardous to the public and/or our employees. Based on conditions within a patrol, the Foreman or Patrolman may decide to temporarily cease winter maintenance operations. The Patrolman or on-duty Foreman contacts adjacent patrols to determine if the situation is similar in their patrol areas and then a decision is made as to whether one patrol or several patrols will be ceasing operations until weather conditions improve. Once a decision is made to cease operations, the OPP are contacted to officially close the road.
Significant Weather Event – As per Regulation 239/02 of the Municipal Act 2001, an Ontario municipality may declare a significant weather event when a weather hazard is approaching or occurring and has the potential to pose a significant danger to users of the highways in which they have authority over. See map below for roads in which Bruce County has authority over. This declaration suspends the standard timelines required for municipalities to meet their winter maintenance objectives until the municipality declares the significant weather event has ended. In each case, during the course of a declared significant weather event, the standard for addressing winter maintenance is to monitor the weather and to deploy resources to address the issue starting from the time that the municipality deems it appropriate to do so. When the municipality has declared the event has ended, the standard timelines for winter maintenance activities will begin.
Bruce County may declare a significant weather event when the weather forecast or actual weather condition includes one or more of the following conditions:
- Significant snow accumulation during a 24 hour period,
- Ice formation that occurs with no warning from the weather forecast,
- High winds leading to large snow drifts,
- Cold temperature when de-icing operations will not be effective.
Bruce County wishes to note that the declaration of a significant weather event is not notice of a reduced level of service or a road closure. The declaration is to notify the public that due to the current or forecasted conditions, caution is to be observed when travelling on Bruce County roads and that it may take longer than usual to bring the condition of the roads back to a state of repair.
Bruce County will notify the public that a significant weather event has started and or ended in the following ways;
- Bruce County website
- Social Media (i.e. Twitter)
- A message will be sent to the Radio Media
The County recognizes Ontario Regulation 239/02 and shall conform to therequirements of Section 4. The highest winter use of Bruce County roads occurs between 7:00am and 9:00pm consequently, the County Transportation and Environmental Services Department will commit the majority of its snow clearing resources to these hours. During low traffic hours (9:00pm to 7:00am) it is impracticable to deploy full resources and roads may accumulate snow. During severe weather conditions, when either it is unsafe to plow snow or when the rate of snow build-up occurs faster than the removal of snow, the County Highway Department may choose to withdraw equipment from the road system.
The County recognizes Ontario Regulation 239/02 and shall conform to the requirements of Section 5. The use of de-icing chemicals (sand/salt mixtures) will generally be restricted to roads with a Center Bare Level Of Service. Where conditions are not favourable for the effective application of de-icing chemicals, abrasives (sand) may be used in their place. Bruce County has demonstrated that it is not practicable to apply de-icing chemicals or abrasives on wind swept roads during a storm due to the increased hazard caused by taking an action that is predictably going to cause dangerous accumulations of snow and slush on the travelled portion. At these times, treatment shall be limited to an application at stop signs, built-up areas, steep hills, and sharp curves in the road. On roads with a Snow-Packed Level Of Service, a treatment will generally consist of an application of abrasives (sand) at stop signs, built-up areas, steep hills and sharp curves.