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Muskoka Winter Road Maintenance
The District Municipality of Muskoka’s (Muskoka) Winter Road Maintenance crew operates seven (7) days a week, twenty-four (24) hours a day. Scheduled snow clearing routes include 1,493 km of paved road and does not exceed more then 2.5 hours to complete. The District has a 24-hour road patrol and weather monitoring crew. Click the links for information.
Winter operations include:
Winter road patrol 24-hours a day
Distribution of Rock Sodium Chloride (salt) to District Roads when necessary, including the use of pre-wetting
Distribution of sand to District roads when necessary, including the use of pre-wetting
24-hour winter weather watch
Debris pickup etc.
These measures are carried out to minimize snow and ice accumulation on District roads, accommodate emergency response units and to ensure safe travelling.
Level one -- Bare Pavement
Applies to all hard-surfaced Muskoka roads, or sections thereof, and shall be maintained as bare as possible through the continued use of all assigned labour, equipment, and materials suited to the conditions
Requires that the accumulation of snow on the road surface should not exceed four (4) centimetres (1.5 inches) in depth
When necessary, snowplowing, sanding and/or salting will be conducted to meet this requirement
A minimum centre-bare condition (centre two and one-half (2.5) meters or a wheel track bare condition), should be reached within twenty-four hours after the storm
The use of salt is to be limited, in terms of both quantity and frequency, to prevent snow and ice from sticking to the pavement and is limited to those temperatures when salt is effective
Salt treated with District approved pre-wetting agents can be effective up until minus thirty (30) degrees Celsius (-20 degrees Fahrenheit) is reached
Level Two -- Snow Packed
Applies to all hard-surfaced and gravel surfaced Muskoka roads, or sections thereof, and shall be maintained in snow packed conditions through the continued use of all assigned labour, equipment, and materials suited to the condition
Requires that the road surface may be maintained in a snow packed condition, that the accumulation of snow on the road should not exceed seven and one-half (7.5) centimetres (3.0 inches) in depth
When necessary, snowplowing will be conducted to meet this requirement
Salt should never be applied to snow packed gravel surface roadways. Salt aids thawing of the packed snow during sunny periods, this increases the severity of potholes in the snow packed surfaces and then in the gravel surfaces in the spring
Pre-determined routes for plowing, sanding, and salting shall be followed except in extreme emergency or critical situations. Routes shall be reviewed and/or revised annually
Spot sanding shall be the primary methods of application on all Muskoka roads. Continuous sanding shall be carried out generally only during freezing rain or general icy conditions caused by failure of other treatment
When it becomes evident that available resources are not sufficient to maintain roadways, the local O.P.P detachment shall be notified and they will determine if the road shall be closed
Snowdrifting shall not accumulate on the driving surface. Snowdrifts must be removed from shoulder before the snowdrift accumulates on the driving surface
Once equipment is dispatched for winter control purposes, operations shall continue until the prescribed level of service is achieved
Roads shall be maintained with a smooth surface with maximum friction
From the time unfavourable road conditions are detected and winter equipment is required, the Area Municipality has a maximum of ˝ hour to have the required operator in the vehicle and equipment ready to begin work
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Road Salt Maintenance
The District of Muskoka currently utilizes Rock Sodium Chloride (salt) and sand for roadway use. A recent assessment done by Environment Canada has suggested a reduction in the amount of road salt to help decrease the harmful effects on the environment. The District of Muskoka is an active member of the Ontario Road Salt Management Group (ORSMG) with an objective of developing salt management strategies to ensure responsible salt usage.
Muskoka’s Salt Management Strategies include the following:
Equipment efficiency including the use of electronic spreader controls, infrared thermometers and pre-wetting equipment
Weather monitoring and forecasting observations using the Ontario Ministry of Transportation’s (MTO) Advanced Road Weather Information Systems (ARWIS)
Route optimization to make efficient use of time, money and material
Improved interior and exterior storage and handling of salt
Salt stored indoors has a mixed ratio of 3:97, 3% salt-to-sand and salt stored outdoors has a mixed ratio of 5:95, 5% salt-to-sand to help prevent freezing
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Reducing Muskoka’s Salt Usage
Reducing Salt Usage In Muskoka
To help reduce the amount of salt on District Roads, The District of Muskoka uses sand where suitable for traction instead of salt
Pre-wetting, the practise of applying a de-icing agent, Magnesium Chloride, to salt and or sand. This method is more effective than the application of dry salt or sand and results in the use of less material
Pre-wetting assists the material in ‘sticking’ to the surface of the road which ultimately means more material on the road and less in the ditch
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Winter Road Maintenance
Avoiding a snow and ice packed road is top priority and preventing this must be done as quickly and as efficiently as possible. Should prevention efforts from other treatments fail, road salts and/or sand may be applied to help clear the road.
What Is Pre-Wetting?
The pre-wetting system is where pre-measured amounts of a de-icing chemical, Magnesium Chloride, is dispensed from the bottom rear of the sand and/or salt truck. The material being dispensed, sand or salt, is poured onto a circulating disc where it is then sprayed with the Magnesium Chloride before it touches the roadway. Therefore no de-icing agents are poured directly onto the roads. This method helps the sand and/or salt ‘stick’ to the roadway and excel the thawing process.
Pre-wetting spreaders apply at the following rates:
(kg/2-lane km) at calibration speed of 40 kms/hr.
Salt: 50, 70, 100, 130, 170 and 195
Sand: 300, 400, 570, and 855
The standard rate of liquid application for pre-wetting is:
Salt: 0 to 30% of weight of the granular material
Sand: 0 to 9% by weight of the granular material
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Winter Snow Removal
The removal of accumulated snow from the central business section and/or full urban sections of Muskoka roads shall be performed when the snowbank(s) encroach into the travel lane(s) in excess of thirty (30) cm. (12 inches) and when permission to perform the work is granted by the District. These snow removal operations will normally be done at night from 7:00 pm to 12:00 am. and will not be done in Saturdays, Sundays, or Statutory Holidays.
The Area Municipalities and or Contactors will supply, erect, maintain and remove all required traffic control devices such as signs, barricades, flagpersons, traffic cones, flashing lights, etc., to adequately protect all vehicular and pedestrian traffic while snow removal operations are being performed.
All accumulated snow removed from the central business section and/or full urban sections of Muskoka will be transported to a facility where the material can safely be disposed and where it will not harm the environment. This site will not allow any material to drain/seep into a local stream, river, lake etc., and will not harm or damage the environment.
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Want More Information?
Who can help me with my questions? For more information or related questions please contact The District Municipality of Muskoka’s Public Works Department.
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