Common Snowstorm / Winter Maintenance Questions

Many residents are unaware the Township does not have extra staff or shifts for nights, weekends or holidays.  The work performed during these ‘after-hour’ times is done by the same staff that works regular weekday hours.  Staff make every effort to maintain the Township’s roads and sidewalks in a professional and timely manner.

The Township of Edwardsburgh Cardinal has 197.1 km of roads (109.2 paved & 87.7 gravel) that require winter maintenance.

Our drivers are regulated by the Province as to the maximum number of hours (13 hours) they are allowed to drive.  With this limitation, we work to clear snow from roads and sidewalks so our residents can get home at the end of a snow event.

Every winter, we have incidents where residents have thrown objects, snow and shovels at our equipment or verbally abused our drivers.  Our staff are doing the best job they can.  They are out clearing snow before most people leave for work and continue to work until most people come home at the end of the day.  Then, our staff returns home where they need to shovel their own driveways.

Some roads in the Township are County Roads. If you live on a County Road, it is the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville that are responsible for the clearing and maintenance of the road.

Below are a number of frequently asked questions regarding winter road maintenance:

A Township staff member said my children are not allowed to play on the piles of snow along the roadside. Is this true?

Snow Banks - At all times, please ensure children do not play in snow banks along the roadways or sidewalks.

Tunnels - Children like to tunnel, make forts and slides in the roadside snow banks. This is a dangerous situation and we ask all parents to ensure their children are not in any areas where the plows could be working.

Snow plow operators plowing the streets or sidewalks are unaware if children are playing in snow banks. Children can be fascinated by large equipment and machines, but please make sure they are supervised and at a safe distance/location from snow clearing operations while they work.

I saw the plow truck start to do our street, but then backed up and left without finishing. I called the Township and was told that the plow could not go between the parked cars.

Parked cars slow down clearing operations and delay our response to other streets.  Keep your vehicles off the road during a snow event and 48 hours after the storm event for cleanup operations.

Plows will not continue further if the plow operator cannot safely manoeuvre between cars parked on the street (especially cars parked across from each other on the street). The operator will leave that area and attempt to return to this area when he has completed the remainder of his route—but this may not be until the next day.

“Stagger” the parking if you must park on the street and a vehicle is already parked directly across from where you want to park.  Plows might be able to manoeuvre between the cars and continue to plow the street.

There is snow left on my street from the plow going around parked cars. When does the plow come back to plow away the snow left on my street?

Our priority is to continue plowing streets to ensure that all residents’ streets have at least one plowing during an event and resources are not available to return during a storm to clear snow left behind due to parked cars.

If the plow has already been on your street and plowed around parked cars, there will be a mound of snow left around the parked vehicles.  Once those parked cars have left, the plow will return to clear the snow left behind, but this will not be during the snow event and may not occur until the next day or more.

Why does the plow always put snow in my driveway? I want you to come back and clear out this snow!

There will always be varying amounts of road snow that is deposited by the plow into driveway openings which cannot be avoided each time the plow clears the streets.

The Township will not clean out snow that has been deposited by our plows into driveways. We suggest if you have a medical/physical condition that prevents you from clearing the snow from your driveway, that you contact family, neighbours, or contractors that may be able to assist with the snow removal.

When you shovel your driveway at the road edge, place the snow at the ‘downstream’ side of the driveway; i.e.: put the piled snow where plow will take the snow away – not where the plow will ‘drag/push’ the piled snow back into your driveway or in the centre of the road.

You already plowed the street and then came back the next day and pushed more snow into my driveway.

After a significant snow storm and the initial snow plowing and sanding has been completed, the Township’s forces will need to remove snow that is piled along the road edge/curb that is causing the road surface to ‘narrow’.   The snow still remaining on the road requires the plows to go through the streets and push it back. This may cause some snow to be deposited back into your driveways.

This operation also assists in exposing the road drainage catch basins, which need to be open to handle melting snow or rain storms to reduce freezing on the road.

You can assist in getting water off the street by exposing catch basins that may be along the curb in front of your home.

My street isn’t cleared until the end of the day and other streets get done earlier, why?

All snow plow routes have a start and end location. Your street may be at the beginning, in the middle or at the end of a snow plow route which may be up to 12 hours to complete after the storm stops.  Many residents call upset because the plow hasn’t arrived, but depending on the street, they may not be scheduled to be plowed until the end of the route.

Residents also call about seeing a street around the corner being plowed but theirs hasn’t been or their road isn’t done until hours afterwards. There are different plows for different routes and this may not be the plow that does your street.

I live on a court and you don’t properly clear the snow away when the truck comes through. Then later in the day, you have another machine come and move the remaining snow. Why don’t you do this the first time with the plow truck?

A large snow plow is not able to maneuver effectively within a cul-de-sac and is best used on the straighter roadways.

If you live on a cul-de-sac, dead end court or at a 90 degree bend in the road, you may find that the plow will come through and clear the central lanes and leave the area.  Our typical operation is for a different type of machine to follow-up later to clean the street more thoroughly.

There could be a significant lag time before this machine arrives to finish plowing.  This process allows us to ‘free up’ the main plows to continue clearing snow efficiently, rather than spend too much time at one location.

I was told that I can’t put the snow onto the road. Why not? You just plow it away anyway!

Placing snow or ice on a roadway is a violation under the Highway Traffic Act.

Please do not shovel, push, snow plow, or deposit snow onto the roadway, shoulders or sidewalks.  This hampers our operations, may cause snowy or slippery conditions for pedestrians or vehicles and delay our clean-up by requiring our equipment return to clear areas that were previously cleared. It also creates a hazard for other motorists, especially when winter conditions make visibility difficult.

I need you to keep my street clear of snow because I have a medical condition and might need to get to the hospital.

Call “911” for emergencies during a winter storm that requires Fire, Police or Ambulance whether or not your street has been cleared.  If Emergency Response agencies have difficulty accessing a street, the Emergency responder will contact Township staff directly and we respond immediately.

We receive many calls from residents needing the road cleared because they have to get to work or school, to the airport, doctor appointment, have a medical condition, etc. and want the road opened immediately.  We cannot respond to these requests as ‘all’ Township staff and equipment are working in their designated routes and we cannot effectively or efficiently reschedule them to other locations.

Winter storm events may require residents to reschedule appointments.

Part of the sidewalk to my house is on the Township’s property. Why don’t you plow this sidewalk?

We do not clear residents’ sidewalks that ‘branch-off’ from the Township's sidewalks and go into private property. This is the responsibility of the property owner.

Your machine just plowed the snow from the sidewalk and then a road plow came along and filled in the newly cleared sidewalk.

The Township provides sidewalk clearing during and after storm events on some sidewalks.  Many of the Township’s sidewalks are located close to the road and once cleared of snow can be refilled in by a passing roadway plow.  This cannot be prevented, as there is very little space between the road edge and the sidewalk to ‘store’ the snow that is coming off both the road and the sidewalk.  When this occurs, once we become aware, staff will return to these locations to remove the snow as soon as possible.

Your plow dug into the grass and made a mess.

During snow clearing operations on both roads and sidewalks, there is always the possibility that some grass or granular shoulder along the roadside may be ‘rutted’ or disturbed. If this occurs, please contact our Public Works Department and we will schedule the repairs in the Spring.  We do not repair or replace speciality concrete, paver stone or asphalt driveways/aprons that may be damaged by our snow clearing operations.

Usually my street has been plowed by this time – what has happened?

Many residents have a ‘rough’ idea as to when the plow generally arrives on their street after the start of a storm.  If you have not seen a plow and it is well past the usual time that a plow would generally be around and you think your street may have been missed, please call the Public Works Department and information will be forwarded to staff.  Operators are very good at completing their plow routes in a regular routine; however, alterations may occur due to equipment breakdown, delays due to parked cars obstructing our progress or plows having to bypass areas that can’t be safely manoeuvred and end up redirected to other streets where they can get through safely.

There may be a possibility that your street is missed, but staff tries their best and sometimes human mistakes are made.  This generally occurs when equipment breaks down and another truck that is unfamiliar with the route has to plow the streets. If we become aware that a street has been missed, then staff will make arrangements to have the street plowed at the earliest opportunity.

Calls to the Public Works Departments during Snow clearing operations are recorded and forwarded to staff for review. We do not provide information, call backs nor will we identify when the plow will reach a particular street.  When dealing with a snow event, all our resources are involved in the snow removal.

Depending on the storm event, it can take 9 to 12 hours (or more) after the storm finishes for the plows to get to all the streets on their route.

Your plow hit my mailbox or the snow from the plow knocked over my mailbox.

The Township will replace a mailbox and/or post, if there is obvious physical evidence on the mailbox/post that it was struck by the plow.

The Township is not responsible for mailboxes or posts that may have been knocked down or bent from the snow coming off the plow.

Some roads in the Township are County Roads. If you live on a County Road, it is the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville that are responsible for the clearing and maintenance of the road as well as mailbox repair or replacement.

I am unable to climb over the snow banks in the downtown core along Main Street to get to the stores.

After a major snow event, there will likely be mounds of snow between the road and sidewalk. These will not be cleared until the Township has adequate time and resources to do so. The Township does their best to ensure there are some small walkways from the road to the sidewalks in downtown core areas.

Do I have to clear the snow away from the fire hydrant at the bottom of my property?

Please ensure snow is cleared away from fire hydrants close to your property. This will greatly assist fire department personnel if they need to access during an emergency.

 

What are the winter parking requirements?

Winter parking requirements affect residents in Villages and Hamlets. We ask that you ensure that your vehicle is not parked along any street between the hours of 2:00am and 7:00am whether or not there is snow on the ground. Winter parking by-laws are in effect between November 1st and April 15th.