Gravel Surfaced Roads
The County has approximately 1500 Km’s of gravel surfaced roads. There are three (3) primary components of Gravel Road Maintenance. They are:
- Grader Maintenance (Summer Blading and Winter Plowing);
- Gravel Road Rehabilitation (ridge and shoulder pulls); and
- Road Gravelling.
A priority is placed on maintenance of gravel surfaced roads as this is the backbone for transporting goods and services from the distant areas within the County to markets.
Eight (8) grader operator routes maintain these road surfaces averaging about 185km's each. Grader operator routes have been revised in this manner to balance responsibility and deliver consistent road surface conditions County wide. Grader operator routes are managed and adjusted as gravel surfaced roads are upgraded to paved surfaces as per Councils approved Paving Plan.
Approximately 50km's of Gravel Road Rehabilitation (shoulder pulls) are performed annually to recover gravel thrown from the motoring public and lost in the ditch from winter plowing operations. The department also addresses ridges often developed on the edge of the driving surface to restore the driving surface to shed water.
A ridge or shoulder pull utilizes equipment to cut the material and bring it back to the road surface.
The County then utilizes a specialized piece of equipment with rotary heads and teeth that beat up lumped material and separate the aggregates from the vegetation.
In addition to gravel roads the County manages approximately 210 Km’s of paved roads. All County paved roads are constructed to a non-banned standard, as determined by Council to promote efficient, effective means of travel for ratepayers, visitors, agriculture, and industry. Councils paving plan, when complete will see nearly every residence within 10 Km’s or less of a paved road surface.
Annual Crack Sealing is performed as a preventative maintenance program to ensure moisture does not enter the road base, prematurely degrading the road surface which can escalate annual maintenance costs. On average 125,000 linear meters of crack are sealed through the cold pour application of sealant. This is a service the County contracts out.
Pothole repairs are limited due to most County paved surfaces being 10 years old or newer. Typically, potholes become more frequent as pavement ages (oxidizes) and more so where preventative maintenance such as crack sealing is not administered. Ever wondered what causes pot holes? Click here to find out!
Line painting is completed annually and serves as a communication device to motorists. Line painting of County paved roads meets Alberta Transportation specifications. In addition, permanent thermoplastic markings are used where Stop Bars and Stop Ahead Messages are needed to warn or communicate to motorists of traffic control devices ahead, as well as in areas where premature wearing of the highway markings takes place such as on speed curves. These permanent markings have an average life expectancy of 7 years and will be re-applied as necessary. Line painting is scheduled for early spring, and is completed through a contracted service due to specialized equipment needs.
Road and Highway Signage
Signage is another very important component, communicating the rules of the road to motorists. Regulatory, Warning, and Information signage are present on each and every (gravel and paved) road surface. Maintaining these are a priority in ensuring the motorist is aware in advance of upcoming road changes and hazards. In addition to these types of signs, County staff will temporarily erect Construction signage as warning devices to motorists where road maintenance, repair, closures, and construction work is in progress. Road signage meets the standards of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (M.U.T.C.D.) (Canadian Edition) and Alberta Transportation.