Municipality of Grassland Snow Clearing Frequently Asked Questions

As a reminder, because people tend to forget from year to year, here are some commonly asked questions and answers regarding snow clearing.

WHERE/WHEN DO THE PLOWS START?
Naturally everyone wants to be the first when the clearing begins.  To make things fair there is a different start and end point every time.  This way no one is always first and no one is always last on the route.  The Municipality of Grassland has over 400 miles of roads and 6 towns to try to keep plowed.  Everyone has to be at work, everyone has doctor appointments, and everyone has somewhere they need to be.  You can’t imagine how many phone calls we get on a daily basis because everyone feels their situation is more urgent than everyone else’s.

During a winter storm, plows, graders and operators get ready for action, but, no plowing starts until the storm event STOPS.  It’s better to wait until the plowing will be effective, even though it’s understandable that everyone wishes it could be sooner.  Starting sooner is not always better.  There are temperatures and times where plowing is simply not effective.

Timing can be severely affected by the amount of snow, temperature, continuing bad weather such as wind causing drifts or poor visibility.  If the visibility means motorists and plow or grader operators can’t see each other, plowing will be delayed until the visibility improves, for everyone’s safety on the road.  Once the plowing rotations begin, plows won’t return to a road until the entire rotation is complete.

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO CLEAR THE ROADS AFTER A SNOWSTORM?
This varies.  If there is a lot of snow, or if the snow is heavy and moist, or if there is a strong wind, it can take longer to move snow and fight drifts.  Our goal is to have the entire municipality plowed within 48 hours after the cessation of a storm, but sometimes it can take several days to complete the snow clearing.

WILL THE MUNICIPALITY SEND A PLOW TO YOUR ROAD IF YOU CALL TO ASK?
The answer is no.  Just imagine how much time and money could be spent by sending plows off the route to respond to every plea from a resident or business.  The best thing to do it let plows and graders stick to their route.  The priority is to clear the municipality’s road network as efficiently and quickly as possible, followed by general cleanup.
If you are truly experiencing a medical emergency situation don’t call the municipality, call 911.  The municipality follows a protocol when dealing with emergency situations.  Should there be a need to send assistance to clear your road and get you out, this call is made by emergency responders and the municipality will do its part.

WHAT IF I NEED TO GET TO TOWN AND THE ROADS ARE IMPASSABLE?
If you have a medical condition or if you have a job where you are required to get to town every day, please plan ahead for unexpected bad weather.  Listen to the weather forecast and make your plans accordingly.  Most rural residents know that when they choose to live in the country, getting snowed in can happen.  Any and all roads can become impassable with extreme weather and it’s important to have food, medicines and supplies to last for several days during a bad storm.

ARE BUS ROUTES PLOWED FIRST?
Some people think the schedule is set by school bus routes, however, school buses travel on so many miles of roads that it is impossible to assign a priority to one bus route over another.  After a significant snow fall, school buses and other types of vehicles may not be able to travel during these times and will also have to wait for plowing to the completed.

WHY DOES THE SNOW PLOW LEAVE A WINDROW AT THE END OF MY DRIVEWAY?
Plow operators do not intentionally block driveways, but they have limited control over the amount and direction of snow that comes off the plow.  When clearing your driveway, try to pile the snow on the right side (standing in your driveway and looking towards the road).  This can help reduce the amount of snow that is pushed onto your driveway when a snow plow/grader passes.

WHY CAN’T I PUSH SNOW OUT ONTO THE ROAD OR ACROSS THE ROAD?
This can create ridges and other road conditions that are dangerous for the grader operators as well as general traffic and could result in an accident.  Please aware that this practice is unsafe, not permitted and subject to a fine.

WILL THE PLOW CLEAR MY DRIVEWAY/LANE ON THE WAY BY IF I CALL AND ASK?
No.  We will come clean your driveway/lane for a fee, but only AFTER all of the roads and towns have been cleaned out and we are caught up.