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The purpose of winter maintenance is to provide services for the safety and mobility of the motoring public on Wellington County roads. In the winter months, the workforce is supplemented with additional equipment operators, to allow a generally 24-hour service, seven days a week.
As a note of caution, when parking a vehicle in the winter, keep in mind that roadways need to be clear to allow for snowplowing. As per the Highway Traffic Act (Section 170 (2)), no person shall park or stand a vehicle on a highway in such a manner as to interfere with the movement of traffic or the clearing of snow from the highway.
As per the Highway Traffic Act (Section 181), no person shall deposit snow or ice on a roadway without permission in writing to do so from the Ministry or the local authority responsible for the maintenance of the road.
The County of Wellington is leading the industry in the proactive use of environmentally friendly alternatives to road salt. Since the mid 70's, the County has been using liquid deicer to supplement the winter snow and ice removal operations (which permits a higher level of service than could be achieved by conventional methods). The County participated as a member of the Environment Canada Multi-Stakeholder Working Group on Road Salts Management. This group has developed a Code of Practice that has been published by Environment Canada as a guide to effectively managing the use of road salts throughout Canada.
Since 1992, computerized spreader control equipment has been used to add liquid deicer to sand and/or salt. In addition, since 1996, the County has been using a snow and ice control technique called Anti-icing. In reality, the road is not anti-iced, however, by applying a liquid deicer (freeze point depressant) directly to the road surface prior to a storm event, will help prevent a bond between the road surface and snow or ice from forming. Application can begin up to five days in advance of a storm or as late as the start of a storm event. The use of liquid deicers have reduced salt use by up to 25% and sand use by approximately 40% (which lessons the impact on the environment). The County uses a deicer made from a combination of refined corn, magnesium chloride and water (as the carrier). As the freezing point is -65º Celsius, this liquid will not freeze on the road. The product is half as toxic as baking soda and a tenth as corrosive as salt, and meets Canadian Drinking Water Standards.
County of Wellington staff has more experience in the use of liquid de-icer and pre-wetting equipment than anyone in Ontario. The Roads Division has gone to great lengths to ensure staff receives thorough training on how the deicer equipment operates, including working directly with the equipment manufacturer. Roads Division staff, in conjunction with the Ontario Road Salt Management Group and the Ontario Good Roads Association helped to develop Equipment Operator and Supervisor training packages for winter operations. For more information, visit the Ontario Good Roads Association.