When does snow road clearing or sanding/salting typically begin in Taber? Is there a specific threshold of snow accumulation that triggers snow clearing operations in Taber?
Our Policy states that snow maintenance work (sanding and/or snow clearing) will commence within 24 hours of the snowfall having ended, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and Statutory Holidays unless deemed necessary.
Sand-salt mixture is applied for snowfall amounts of less than 5 centimetres, or when ice accumulation makes for dangerous driving conditions.
Snow clearing occurs for accumulations of at least 12 centimeters or when drifting snow significantly impedes traffic flow.
With all that being said, if roads are passable for traffic flow, we may not clear the roads at all. This is due to the fact that snow removal does cost money to do and the Town has to balance being responsible with taxpayer dollars alongside making roads safe to travel in the winter.
Are there designated snow routes or priority areas that get cleared first during a snowfall? How are the snow-clearing priorities determined for different roads in Taber?
We have 3 Priority Levels for snow removal:
Priority #1: these are arterial (high traffic) and emergency route roadways, the downtown core, and school zones. Making these first priority allows citizens to reach emergency/critical services and travel main roadways to get to highways.
Priority #2: These are our next-busiest roadways and help connect other areas to the arterial routes. We clear Priority #2 once Priority #1 routes are cleared. If snow falls before we can finish Priority #2 routes, we move back to Priority #1 routes.
Other roadways will be cleared after Priority #1 & #2 routes have been cleared, on an as-needed basis.
To see the Priority Routes approved by Council, click here.
What equipment and resources does the Town of Taber use for snow removal? Do you have plows?
For roads, we use graders, loaders, a snowblower, and dump trucks to remove snow. We also have a sander to spread a salt-sand mix on the ground for traction.
For sidewalks and pathways, we use sweepers, snowblowers, and blades, depending on the size of the drift, etc.
But what about plows?
Great question! Contrary to popular belief, the Town does not actually have any snowplows. This is because snowplows require a place to push the snow (i.e.: plows will push snow into ditches on the highway). If we used a plow, we would be pushing snow onto your lawns/cars/sidewalks/driveways. Instead, we use a grader to push the snow into a specific location (center of the street as “windrows,” corner of the road, etc.) and then use the snowblower to blow it into a dump truck. The truck then takes it to our piles west of Highway 864. That way the snow is completely removed from the roadways instead of being pushed into larger piles along the sides of the roads.
Why do crews clear the Community Centre Parking lot before some roads?
The clearing of parking lots is scheduled around other snow clearing operations, but we typically schedule them before 8:00 AM to avoid conflict with public vehicles and so there’s a place to put snow if we need to (i.e.: the pile of snow that often appears in the NE corner of the parking lot).
We also clear it because it is our facility (and our responsibility to maintain), and we have to make it safe for the public and groups to use the facility.
How often are residential streets cleared during and after a snowstorm?
It really depends on the snowstorm. A good rule of thumb is the following:
Priority Routes will always be cleared first (see FAQ #1). Some of those routes happen to be in residential areas because they are arterial routes or school zones. Once we complete our Priority #1 & #2 routes, we can then move onto residential streets that may need attention due to drifting, accumulation, etc. But every snowfall is different, so there is no way to accurately predict when our crews may be able to clear other streets that are not Priority Routes.
With all that being said, if roads are passable for traffic flow, we may not send equipment down residential roads at all. This is due to the fact that snow removal does cost money to do, and the Town has to balance being responsible with taxpayer dollars alongside making roads safe to travel in the winter. Plus, it’s quite often that by the time we can get to residential streets, it starts to snow again and we have to return to Priority Routes.
There are some areas in the community where our equipment won’t fit (ie: graders inside cul-de-sacs). We don’t bring equipment into areas where there is a high possibility of doing damage to infrastructure or private property.
What is the process for reporting hazardous road conditions, such as icy patches or heavy snow accumulation?
See something dangerous or want to report an area that our crews should take a look at? We have multiple options:
Call the Shop directly at 403-223-6018
Please be kind to our staff during a snowfall; they are doing the very best that they can. We appreciate when people treat our staff with kindness, respect, and patience when you contact us.
Please remember that our crews have Priority Routes that must be taken care of first during a snowfall. We sincerely appreciate your patience for our crews, and our kindness to staff when you call or email.
Are there any restrictions or regulations regarding parking on streets during snow-clearing operations?
Not when a Snow Route hasn't been declared. However, we appreciate all citizens who try to park off the street during any snowfall, so our equipment has more room to work!
How long does it usually take for all roads in Taber to be cleared after a significant snowfall?
There’s no great way to answer this question, as all snowfall events are different. However, you can expect Priority #1 Routes to have had at least one pass of equipment within 24 hours after the snowfall has ended.
Does the Town clear roads during weekends and holidays if it snows?
Our Policy states that work will commence within 24 hours of a snowfall having ended, EXCLUDING Saturdays, Sundays, and statutory holidays, unless deemed necessary. This applies to sanding and sidewalks as well. So, any weekend/holiday snow clearing is a bonus if it happens.
What should residents do if their property is damaged during snow plowing or clearing operations?
Our crews do their very best to avoid any damages during snow removal, but mistakes can happen. If you believe your property was damaged as a result of our snow removal operations, please contact the Shop right away at 403-223-6018 or email us.
How does the Town of Taber manage snow removal on pedestrian pathways?
Our crews strive to clear 6km+ of trails during the winter for pedestrian safety, however these trails are deemed lower priority during a snow event and will be cleared when staff and equipment are available to do so. Please note that using the walking paths during winter are done at the user’s own risk.
Red Pathways on our Sidewalks Clearing Priorities Map will be cleared within 48 hours after a snowfall, according to priority routes noted on the map. If we have time to clear other sidewalks and asphalt pathways (yellow on the map), we will do so after priority routes are complete. Please note that due to our equipment, we only do pathways that are paved.
Are there any specific requirements, guidelines, or recommendations for residents to help with snow removal efforts?
Thank you for asking! Yes, we have plenty of tips that will help us help you:
If you can, park off the street during snowfall. This gives our large equipment lots of room to work without maneuvering around cars.
Shovel your driveways/sidewalks ONTO your lawns. DO NOT shovel into the roadways (see FAQs above). As per bylaw, sidewalks adjacent to your property must be shovelled and de-iced within 24 hours of a snowfall.
Why aren’t you supposed to shovel onto the roads? Well, you are creating even more traffic problems: more snow for our equipment to clear, and large ruts/hills/snow drifts for you and your neighbours to deal with. Even if your vehicle can go over the drifts you’ve created, your neighbour’s car or other vehicles may not be able to, leading to cars getting stuck/stranded in the roads.
We also ask you to shovel onto your lawns for an environmentally friendly reason: as spring arrives, the snow melts onto your lawn, reducing the amount of water needed for your grass, and reducing your water consumption (and therefore reducing your water bills in the spring).
Have patience with our crews and treat staff with respect. We know that snow clearing garners a lot of opinions (and sometimes frustration), but your patience and kindness go a long way when our crews are trying to do their best in cold, snowy, and late-night conditions.
Be a snow angel! There are many seniors and citizens with disabilities that may not be able to shovel their sidewalks or driveways. Being a snow angel and helping out your friends and neighbours is a true Canadian tradition!
What happens to the removed snow and ice? Is it disposed of or melted down?
We pile it up! Our snow piles are located out of town near Highway 864, and we let Mother Nature take care of it when spring comes.
What happens to all the sand that is put on the roads during winter?
Our salt-sand mixture helps give traction during the winter. After winter passes and the snow melts, we bring out our streetsweeper to clear up the remaining sand/gravel and repurpose that for other uses.
How can residents stay updated on snow clearing progress and receive notifications about upcoming operations?
Watch our official Town social media channels (@TownofTaber on Facebook and Twitter). We try to do our best to post during large snowfall events or extreme winter weather (weekends excepted unless deemed necessary).