A snow plow on a County Road.

Snow-clearing in SDG Counties

SDG Counties works hard to ensure that its vast road network is cleared of snow as quickly, safely and efficiently as possible. In an effort to answer some common questions concerning snow-clearing activities, SDG Counties has compiled this FAQ to address specific areas of concern.

If you have more specific questions, drop us a line at info@sdgcounties.ca, or give us a call at 613-932-1515, ext. 1205.

Who is responsible for the winter maintenance on my road?
  • There are three classifications of roads within SDG Counties: Provincial, County and Municipal/Township roads. Each road network has a different level of service.
  • Provincial roads, managed by Ontario Ministry of Transportation are responsible for Highway 138, 401 and 417.
  • SDG County Roads are identified by number within a white “Keystone” or “Flower Pot” symbol. County roads are designed to a higher standard with a wider platform and asphalt surface. These are generally longer roads joining municipalities across SD&G.
  • Municipalities are responsible for the smaller, collector roads and neighbourhood streets. Municipal roads are identified by name and can have either an asphalt or gravel surface.


What happens when it starts to snow?
  • SDG Counties is responsible for 1,950 km of road, which is actually 3,900 km of maintenance when one factors in both lanes of traffic.
  • SDG Counties monitors the weather and patrols County Roads 24 hours a day, seven days a week during the winter months. Once snow begins and accumulation reaches five centimetres or the roads become icy, winter maintenance equipment is dispatched.


What happens during the winter event?
  • Between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. the County Road network is divided by 21 predefined plow routes, each taking three to 3.5 hours to complete.
  • Between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. the County Road network is divided by 14 predefined plow routes each taking five to 5.5 hours to complete.
  • During a winter event one can expect the roads to be snow covered at times.
  • Please stay alert, plan ahead, slow down, and stay in control when driving a vehicle during this period.
  • The County strives to have driving lanes cleared within five hours of the completion of a winter event.


Why do I see plows driving with their plow and wing up?
  • To optimize plowing efficiency, plows are dispatched to their assigned routes from four different County patrol yards. Most routes start at, or are very close to, each of these yards.
  • If the County plow is travelling with its plow and wing up, it is either out of service or heading to its assigned route.
  • Various municipalities and private contractors use County Roads to reach their assigned routes on local roads. They are commonly mistaken for County plows.


Why does the snow the plow pushes end up in my driveway?
  • By law, snow must be removed from the travelled portion of the road. Plows are designed with a fixed blade and wing that always pushes the snow towards the County ditch.
  • The County’s entrance bylaw permits property owners to install entrances onto the County Right-of-Way, but stipulates that the removal of the snow and ice from the entrance is the property owner’s responsibility.


Why do plows come back and push snow into my driveway after I have cleaned it?
  • County roads are quite wide and require multiple passes to remove all snow from the roadway.
  • Additional clearing of the shoulders improves sight lines and creates more snow storage space for the next winter event.


What if I need to get out for a medical appointment or require emergency services?
  • Plows do not deviate from regular routes - if they did, the snow removal operations would take twice as long and would leave some roads in a dangerous state.
  • If you have an appointment, please monitor the weather and plan ahead.
  • In a true emergency, emergency services will contact the Counties to ensure our efforts and response are coordinated.


Is it okay to push snow onto the roadway or across the road?
  • Under the Highway Traffic Act, it is illegal to deposit snow or ice on a roadway.
Who cleans the sidewalks?
  • Local municipalities are responsible for the maintenance of all sidewalks and pedestrian crossings. Please contact your local municipality should you have any concerns
Who is responsible for cleaning around my mailbox?
  • Property owners are responsible for the removal of snow from around their mailbox.
What happens if my mailbox is hit by the plow?
  • County policy states that mailboxes must be constructed to withstand the direct weight and force of the snow thrown from the plow. The County cannot control these factors and bear no liability for such damage.
  • If it is determined by County staff that the mailbox was damaged because it has been physically struck by any part of the plow, the Counties will repair or replace the mailbox with a standard metal mailbox and 4X4 post meeting Canada Post’s standards.  
What if my vehicle is damaged by the plow?
  • When one sees the plow’s flashing blue lights, please move over to give operators room to work. This includes intersections where the plows are required to back up multiple times to clear the intersection.
  • If you believe your vehicle has been damaged by a plow, please contact your insurance company, and advise our office at 613-932-1515, ext. 1208.
Who cleans up the stones deposited in my yard over the winter?
  • The County strives to prevent the loss of granular from its shoulders. Unfortunately, due to weather conditions, this is sometimes unavoidable.
  • As the snow melts there are areas where it will seem that there is a significant amount of granular material pushed into the ditch.  In most cases the actual loss of granular tends to be minimal and is usually contained within the County right of way.
  • Unfortunately, SDG Counties does not have the necessary resources to cleanup the granular lost from our shoulders as a result of winter operations.
Residents and drivers can help by doing the following:
  • Leave room for plows. When one sees the flashing blue lights on the winter maintenance equipment, remain a safe distance behind. Also, NEVER pass a plow, this is an extremely dangerous practice.
  • Stay back and give the plows room at intersections. Plows need to back into and around intersection to clean them properly. If you can’t see the operator’s mirrors, they can’t see you!
  • Be patient. In heavy snow falls, it may take SDG Counties longer to get all roads cleared.
  • Keep parked cars off the road wherever possible.
  • To help keep children safe, please don't let them play in the snow piles or on the snow banks at the side of the road.
  • Keep garbage cans and recycling bins five or six feet from the edge of the road.
  • When clearing your driveway please keep the snow on your property, not on the road. Pushing snow back onto or across the road creates unsafe road conditions for motorists and is prohibited by the Highway Traffic Act.