Gravel Roads Maintenance

1,900 KM's of gravel roads are maintained by the County. There are three primary components of gravel road maintenance; grader maintenance, gravel road rehabilitation (reconstruction) and road gravelling. 

Gravel Road Rehabilitation: As many of the roads in the county are over 50 years old, many older roads were made in the 1950s through a practice that included elevating road structures with black dirt from the adjacent ditches. Unfortunately, black dirt is prone to water infiltration, creating potholes and soft areas. As a result, many of these older roads are beginning to wear out, causing the black dirt to break through the crust of clay in some parts of these roads. 
Despite having provided us with adequate transportation for the last 50 years or so, increased traffic, industrial usage and heavier truck traffic means that some roads need to be rebuilt. To address this issue, Clearwater County has implemented a gravel rehabilitation program. The construction practice utilized during the Gravel Rehabilitation Program involves excavating and removing the black dirt from the road surface and replacing it with a more suitable material such as clay. The clay structure is then bridged with aggregate to create a durable driving surface.

Winter Gravel Program: The Winter Gravel Program comprises up to 60% of the budget for graveling existing roads.  Roads are assessed for condition and suitability of fitting within the Winter Gravel Program criteria to be considered.  Eligible roads are then prioritized into the program. 
The Winter Gravel Program is an integral and proactive component of the road maintenance strategy, as graveling frozen (or solid) roads provides the required preventive maintenance with the least surface damage and highest gravel retention. 

Winter graveling sees the placing of gravel on road surfaces before the frost comes out of the road, when the roads become soft.  The timing of this gravelling process actually limits the loss of gravel to the ditch through blow off.

From gravel retention to road structure reliability, winter graveling is an effort to ensure the integrity of our gravel road system. 

It is also important to note that if any dust controls patches (with existing maintenance contract) are graveled during the winter program, they will be swept in the spring as part of the dust control program warranty. For those dust controls no longer on warranty, which have also been graveled, the County will, in spring, assess and then, if required, determine the method of gravel removal.

Patch Gravel Program: This program makes up the remaining 40% of the graveling budget. Gravel is applied on a "as need” basis on isolated areas throughout the municipality.  Belly Dumps are utilized for patch graveling because they make it easier to spread gravel under power lines, eliminating the need for a spotter.  These trucks can also open and close under load so they can put down the correct amount of gravel.

Gravel Operations: Clearwater County has an active gravel program which is always looking to identify and develop gravel resources throughout the County in an effort to maintain the over 1900 Km’s of gravel roads and infrastructure. Through increased gravel resource identification, procurement and development, rising costs for gravel and hauling can be greatly reduced to the County and its’ rate payers, now and in the future.

For Clearwater County owned gravel pits, excavation and crushing operations are limited by the County in both season and daytime operating hours to have a minimal impact upon County residences.

Grader Beat Maintenance: Clearwater County has 13 grader beats, with each grader beat averaging approximately 162 km in length. Eleven of these beats are contracted graders and two are county owned. One of the county owned graders floats between construction and the West Country Roads as required.

Clearwater County strives to have all the roads open within 96 hours after a snow storm or series of storms. Grader maintenance will only occur however when conditions warrant .e.g. more than 4 inches of snow in order to prevent the loss of gravel into the ditch.

 Grader Beat Contractor Contract Date Contract Expiry Date Kilometers
 501 Col-lar Construction Ltd. May 1, 2019 April 30, 2024 170
 502 Clearwater County   111
 503 Ogopogo Graders Ltd. June 1, 2019 May 31, 2024 160
 504D Williams Contracting Oct. 1, 2020 Sept. 30, 2025 169
 505 Breton Oilfield Services May 1, 2020 April 30, 2025 169
 506 East of 22 Ltd. May 1, 2016 April 30, 2021 173
 507 Jomad Industries Ltd. April 1, 2020 March 31, 2025 162
 508 734989 Alberta Ltd. Dan Harder May 1, 2019 April 30, 2024  161
 509 Vacant
 510 Jomad Industries Ltd. May 1, 2019 April 30, 2024 160
 511 Clearwater County   68
 512 Bigfoot Grading  August 1, 2020 July 31, 2025 42
 513 Spirit Rider Trucking Brian Harbidge May 1, 2019 April 30, 2024 167

Mailboxes: Clearwater County is not responsible for the clearing of private or communal mailboxes. This responsibility lies with individual property owners and Canada Post respectively.  However, Clearwater County recommends the following mailbox dimensions for private mailboxes adjacent to public roads, in order for graders to better clear near the mailbox area when plowing public roads.