Road Salting & Snow Removal Policy
The following information is provided to assist residents in understanding the Village’s program for winter maintenance of roads. The information should also help people appreciate some of the challenges in keeping the roads safe and open for travel.
Village of Belcarra follows adopted procedures that set-out when, and at what sequence, snow removal and salt application will be implemented:
Within two hours of snow falling, salt applications and/or snow removal should commence following these priorities: Village bus route and primary roads, followed by secondary roads, then to the steep side-roads. Bus shelters and turn-arounds are cleared as soon as possible after the snow stops falling.
The priority is to first ensure that our primary road (Bedwell Bay Road) is passable for emergency vehicles & TransLink buses; Bedwell Bay Road is a designated road under the Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority (GVTA) and therefore must be maintained as a priority. This is consistent with other municipalities who also focus on keeping GVTA roads open and passable before moving to other roads.
The application of road salt is a combination of science, planning, experience and instinct. Public Works monitors weather conditions and forecasts to determine the probability of freezing. Local anomalies can contradict weather reports such as a cold outflow from Indian Arm, creating freezing conditions in Belcarra where freezing is not present in other areas. The reverse is also true where it may be freezing or snowing in Anmore or Port Moody but not in Belcarra. Public Works believes, “If there is any chance of freezing, there is no doubt we will salt”.
As with most things in life, in spite of all the science, planning, experience and luck, we still “get caught”. Some of those conditions are:
- Where a clear sky develops between “systems” causing a sudden drop in temperature to an already wet road, resulting in a “black ice“. One degree can separate a wet road from an icy road.
- Where an area near a creek or gully can cause temperatures to be colder than the surrounding area, thus creating a condition where “black ice” is present only in that area, such as bridge decks, large culvert areas and creek gully areas. Icy conditions can also occur when road conditions are above freezing temperatures at 5 – 6:00 am but drop to freezing at 7 – 8:00 am.
- Where the temperature is too cold to permit salt from melting the ice, at -10C road salt becomes ineffective.
Public Works also relies on the community to assist in keeping winter maintenance effective:
Driving according to road conditions, Village roads are posted at 50 km/h and 30 km/h. This assumes good road conditions, and slower speeds are required by law when winter conditions are present. Driving according to road condition and ability is the most effective means of insuring safety.
- Street parking is a recognized fact of life in Belcarra. However, keeping parked cars away from intersections, corners, tops and bottoms of hills and adjacent to other parked cars are critical to providing access for the snowplow. A minimum of 12 feet of road access must be maintained. Vehicles that are parked improperly are at risk of being towed. The operator of a snowplow will not commit to a road if a risk of collision or inability to return exists.
- Control of property or driveway water run-off is another area where residents can help reduce the risk of ice build-up on roadways.
- Please contact the Village office at 937-4100 if you require further clarification or additional information.