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Winter Maintenance

Closing Roads

Due To Inclement Winter Weather Conditions

The Bruce County Highways Department wishes to acknowledge that in certain circumstances, the Department may be unable to keep a road open due to the existence of large drifts, accidents, visibility, etc. In these circumstances it may be necessary for the Department to consider officially having the road closed. It is acknowledged that an official roadclosure requires the authorization of the Ontario Provincial Police under Section 134 of the Highway Traffic Act (R.S.O. 1990). The OPP is also required to authorize the Department to re-open a closed road due to weather conditions. In summary the Department takes direction for a road closure and re-opening of the road from the OPP this is not a Bruce County Highways decision.

Ceasing Winter Maintenance Operations

The Department acknowledges that there may be storm events, which create situations where continuing operations would be hazardous to the public and/or our employees. During these situations the Department may exercise the following procedure to notify the public and specific authorities concerning the withdrawal of County winter maintenance equipment.

Ceasing operations shall be a decision of a Foreman or the Patrolman based on conditions within the patrol. The Patrolman or the on-duty Foreman, shall contact adjacent patrols to determine the situation in their areas. A decision will then be made if one patrol or several patrols shall be ceasing operations.

Once a decision to cease operations is made, the OPP shall be contacted.

Level of Services

Bruce County Highways Policy

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 '.

General Statement

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 andquality of life for County residents. The objective of the County Highways 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 thelevel of service provided due to these factors.

Surface Condition

Given the limitations stated above, the Surface condition objective onBruce County Roads is based on the following:

Level of Service                      Surface Condition                       Description of Roads

Center Bare                          Attempt to attain bare                   Class 2 & 3 roads
                                             2.5m center section of 
                                             pavement within 24 hours
                                             after the end of the storm.

Snow Packed                      Attempt to attain snow                   Class4 roads
                                            packed condition within
                                            24 hours after the end of the

Snow Accumulation

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 Highways 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.

Icy Roadways

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 duringa 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 traveled 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 andsharp curves.


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.