Winter Maintenance Policy



Prepared by : Kennedy Garrow, Program Manager
September 5 2017
Revised April 18 2016

The Roadway System under the jurisdiction of the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne consists of approximately forty-nine (49) km of roadway, thirty six (36) km of which are asphalt surface, while thirteen (13) km are gravel surface roadways. These roadways are located in three separate districts within Akwesasne and are as follows: Tsi Snaihne (Chenail), Kanatakon (St. Regis) and Kawehnoke (Cornwall Island).
The three Districts are situated on lands and islands along the South Shore of the St. Lawrence River, opposite Cornwall Ontario and bordering Dundee Quebec. These areas are bordered on the South by the Canada / U.S. boundary.
Traffic volumes on roadways throughout Akwesasne are among the lowest in the region. Traffic patterns indicate that over 95% of traffic in Akwesasne occurs between 6:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. Less than 5% of traffic occurs between 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. Morning traffic begins before 6:00 a.m. on less than 30% of roadways in Akwesasne.
The Municipal Act of Canada has determined that a road authority must use the means at its command to make roadways reasonably safe to travel during the winter. Basically, if snow or ice makes a particular section of the roadway especially dangerous, and if the cost to improve the condition is reasonable, the Road Authority is obligated to do so. The Road Authority is expected to keep its roadways in a reasonable condition; no more or no less.
The level of service does not have to be equal for all Roadways. The Municipal Act allows for Levels of Service to vary, according to weather conditions, traffic patterns and the ability of the Road Authority to deliver the Service.
The Roads Program operates one combination plow spreader truck in each district. For extreme weather, the program has a motor grader in Tsi Snaihne and Cornwall Island. The program has a loader in Kanatakon and a backhoe/loader on Kawehnoke, used primarily for loading spreader trucks and for clearing parking areas maintained by the program.
The Roads Program primary sources of funding are Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. The Province of Quebec had previously contributed funds for Road Maintenance of the Quebec portion of Akwesasne, as part of a five year funding agreement from 2005 through 2009, but no funding has been received from Quebec since 2009, as no new agreement has been reached.
These funding sources do not equal the funding requirements of operation of the Roads Program, nor do they begin to address the need for upgrades or major repairs to roads and related infrastructure. The Roads Program does generate some revenue from work completed on Capital Projects for Organization; however, with no other sources of funding available for Road Maintenance, the Program continually carries one of the largest budget deficits within the organization.
Based on the statement of policy, the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne Roads Program establishes the following objectives to be used as a guideline for its Winter Maintenance Operations. It is the stated objective that:
1. A uniform degree of effort is to be established for all roads under the jurisdiction of the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne. (Note: This uniform effort will not necessarily result in the same level of service throughout the jurisdiction, due to topography, surface type and traffic patterns).
2. Winter maintenance standards are to be established with one crew per district (Tsi Snaihne, Kanatakon and Kawehnoke). A crew is used to staff required to operate snow plowing/sanding equipment designated for use in each district. There is one work shift with no night crew, on weekends and holidays if deemed necessary, to be determined by the Program Manager or designate. For Winter road maintenance purposes, when only a partial crew is required to work, those selected to work overtime shall do so upon direction from the Program Manager or designate and will be based on the following:
a) The location of the work to be completed
b) The ability of staff to complete the tasks involved
c) Seniority, according to years of service and
d) Availability of staff
Note: There is no guarantee of overtime work; however, every effort will be made to distribute work equally among the program staff. Overtime will be utilized only to achieve minimum winter road maintenance standards.
3. The primary unity of equipment used for Winter Maintenance Operations is a combination plow/spreader truck, either single axel or tandem, equipped with a one-way plow and side wing. In Kanatakon, a smaller 5 ton spreader truck with a power angle plow is used. For extreme weather, graders will also be used to keep roadways passable.
4. The routes in each district are such, that the maximum time to complete one full route including secondary and side roads, under normal winter conditions should be no more than four (4) hours.
5. The general call out time of 4:00 a.m. is established to allow staff sufficient time to complete plowing and sanding/salting of primary roadways on a route by 6:30 a.m. Although 4:00 a.m. has been established the general call out time can vary, according to weather and road conditions, as well as other unforeseen circumstances. This will be determined according to road inspections, to be completed by the Program Manager or designate.
Levels of Service
Based on the objective, the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne’s Road Program establishes the following level of service to govern its Winter Maintenance operations.
Wide Center-Bare
This level of service applies to all asphalt surface roadways under jurisdiction of the Mohawk Council. The level of service requires that the accumulation of snow on the road surface will not normally be allowed to exceed three (3) inches in depth and that when necessary (but limited to hours in accordance with objectives) snow plowing be conducted to meet this requirement.
The defined level of service, which in this case is essentially bare pavement, is the objective to be reached within twenty-four hours after the end of the storm, whenever possible.
The use of salt is to be limited, in terms of both quantity and frequency to that which is necessary to prevent snow and ice from adhering to pavement, or to remove ice, once formed on the center four (4) meters of the roadway. Salt use is also limited to those temperatures and storm conditions when salt is most effective (above – 12c). Salt shall not be used to bare pavement beyond the center four (4) meters. This is limited to hours in accordance with objectives.
Snow Packed
This level of service applies to all gravel surface roadways under the jurisdiction of the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne.
This level of service requires that the road surface will be maintained in a snow packed condition, that the accumulation of new snow on the roadway will not normally be allowed to exceed three (3) inches in depth and when necessary (but limited to hours in accordance with objectives) snow plowing will be conducted to meet this requirement. Sand should be applied braking at corners and intersections. Salt should only be used on gravel surface roadways in extreme ice conditions, except for that is pre-mixed with sand to keep from freezing.
At present, there are no regulations within the Municipal Acts of Ontario or Quebec, regarding the maintenance of sidewalks. Should the local government wish to exercise jurisdiction over sidewalks, minimum maintenance standards and procedures for sidewalk maintenance will need to be developed and accepted as a by-law. This could result in the responsibility for sidewalk maintenance being assigned or shared by the Road Authority, other programs or possibly the adjoining property owner.
While under no legal obligation to do so, the Roads program has been and will continue to clear sidewalks within the Territory after a snow event, as time permits and staff are available, only after all roads and street have been plowed and sanded/salted. No overtime hours will be dedicated to clearing sidewalks.