Public Works


Public Works is the largest department in Clearwater County with over thirty (30) full time staff, and fifty (50) staff during peak summer months.
 
As Clearwater County has a large number of contractor resources available, the County’s philosophy is to have only a small, well-maintained fleet of trucks and specialized equipment. In turn, the Public Works Department prides itself in employing highly-skilled professional staff responsible for administering County projects.

Clearwater County’s infrastructure consists of 2,222 km of Roadway with 1,873 km of gravel road and 350 km of surfaced road along with 173 bridges and bridge size culverts. Along with the road and bridge structures, Clearwater County also consists of five hamlets; Nordegg, Leslieville, Condor, Alhambra, and Withrow maintaining three sewer systems located in; Nordegg, Leslieville, Condor with one water treatment plant and distribution system located in Nordegg and three Maintenance Yards located in Rocky Mountain House, Caroline and Leslieville.
Approaches within municipal road right-of-ways are subject to the current Clearwater County Approach Construction Guideline Policy, viewable in the policy section of the County website. Approach requests, construction and inspections are carried out each year beginning when the frost is out of the ground through to the 15th of October.

Standard approach width requirements are 7.3 meters (24 ft.)
Joint approach width requirements are 9.8 meters (31 ft.)
Industrial approach width requirements are 8.0 meters (26 ft.)
Permission must be obtained prior to the installation of any new approach.
 
There are 461 bridges structures located within Clearwater County of which 272 fall under Clearwater County's administration, with the balance of the remaining bridge structures being managed by Alberta Transportation.

If you wish to report damage or identify a safety issue relating to a bridge structure, please contact the County Office at 403-845-4444, or email at publicworks@clearwatercounty.ca

Inventory: Public Works is responsible for re-constructing, rehabilitating and maintaining approximately 173 bridges and bridge sized culverts.

Restrictions: Bridge restrictions are primarily made up of weight and height restrictions. These restrictions are posted at the structures themselves, 300 meters in either direction and at the first intersection either direction from the bridges.

Planning & Design: Clearwater County has an aggressive bridge maintenance and replacement program that is designed to maintain a safe and convenient standard for the traveling public.
 
Documents
Forms
Our Goal: Improving our roadways and infrastructure reduces maintenance costs, promotes future development and improves our overall municipal reputation. It is Clearwater County's goal to work effectively and responsibly within all our programs. Contractors and staff are to maintain a high level of professionalism with management, landowners, rate payers and the public.

Commitment to Safety: The safety of all personnel, support staff, the public and all who maybe directly or indirectly affected by our construction activities is our number one priority. No job is so important that it cannot be done safely. All contractors and staff will work diligently to eliminate hazards or put controls in place that minimizes hazards associated with our activities. Regular safety meetings, hazard assessments, personnel training and regular inspections will be an integral part of our construction program. The safety department can give a fresh pair of eyes prospective which can be invaluable in recognizing possible safety concerns. Therefore the construction team will work responsibly and submit ourselves to regular inspections from the safety department.

Our Commitment to the Environment: Environmental protection is another integral part of all our operations. All efforts will be made that the environment is not compromised by our activities. Waste management, water course preservation, education and training for employees will be maintained. Designated re-fueling and service areas will be identified and proper procedures will be followed. Accidents or spills will be promptly cleaned up and reported or for larger spills the proper authorities will be notified immediately.

Construction Staff and Contractors: Clearwater County employs a small core group of full time employees complimented by seasonal part time staff during the summer months. Most of our construction projects utilize local day labour contractors with some of the larger projects being tendered out as per legislation. If you are interested in working with Clearwater County please fill out our Heavy Equipment Listing Form.

Projects

 
West Country Road Project: As per Council's Road Surfacing and Other Major Projects Policy, funding is put into reserve annually for major grading projects in remote areas of the County. In 2017, 5.2 km of the Northfork Road was tendered and constructed. This project was completed in 2019.
 
Resource Roads: Resource roads are primarily used by industry, see a high amount of truck traffic and often have seasonal usage. Re-construction costs of these roads are very high due to the remote location and topography commonly associated with these roads. Clearwater County continues to annually monitor and apply for grant funding for these types of roads.

New Road Construction: Generally new municipal road construction includes access roads to isolated properties on a cost share basis with the property owner.  

Gravel Road Rehabilitation: All the gravel roads in Clearwater County are assessed bi- annually and given a score. There are several different road characteristics that contribute differently to the overall evaluation. The data collected is reviewed and priorities are established. The construction process includes salvaging the surface gravel, excavating any topsoil or unsound road building material and hauling and placing road fill material to the grade lines established by the supervisors. The salvaged gravel is then re-applied, the ditches are cleaned up and the surface is re-graveled.

The roads designated for rehabilitation are considered by Clearwater County Council and will be posted upon approval.

Shoulder Pull: A shoulder pull has proven to be an economical way of prolonging the life of a gravel road. Over time a road can increase in width from routine maintenance and traffic. This process involves rolling the shoulder of the road onto the surface re-consolidating the material and re-graveling.


Planning and Design: Clearwater County's priority is to maintain the existing infrastructure. The Road Surfacing and Other Major Projects policy outlines priority setting criteria to assist the administration in making its recommendations to Council. Upon consideration Council may choose to approve recommended projects.

All new construction, road rehabilitation and road upgrades are evaluated classified and designed to suit its intended purpose. Consideration is also given to the possibility of future development. Further detailed design specifications can be found in the latest edition of Alberta Transportation's Standard Specifications for Highway Construction, the Transportation Association of Canada manual and relevant existing policies. Due to topographical constraints, it may be necessary to reduce some standards in certain areas.
As of June 1, 2020, Clearwater County is no longer accepting applications for the 2020 Dust Suppression Program. If you would like general information, please contact the office at 403-845-4444.

Links: 

Guard Rails
 
Guardrails are an integral part of a safe road system. These are most commonly seen along roadways around curves, steep embankments and bridges. If you have concerns or spot a guardrail that has been damaged please contact the County Office at 403-845-4444 or email at publicworks@clearwatercounty.ca
 
Beaver Control

Clearwater County maintains an active beaver control program during the summer months. The time frame for which this program can be administered is dictated by Alberta Environment and Parks. This program is limited to work within the municipal road right-of-ways unless municipal infrastructure is at risk. Standing water against roadways can cause severe and expensive damage to the road infrastructure, if not corrected.
 
Ditches

Clearwater County has a ditching program which utilizes a contract track hoe and two Clearwater County gravel trucks. Problem areas are recognized and work is done in the road allowance to maintain or create proper drainage. If you wish to report or identify large pooling of water in ditches, or beside a road way, a damaged or plugged culvert please contact the County Office at 403-845-4444, or email at publicworks@clearwatercounty.ca
 
Signs

Clearwater County maintains the public signs throughout the county on the municipal public roads including the traffic control signs, directional signs, and informational signs. These signs are for the safety and convenience of everyone, if you have concerns or spot a sign down please contact the County Office at 403-845-4444, or email at publicworks@clearwatercounty.ca

For more information on signs, and sign requests, please refer to the Informational Signs and the Signs (Private) on Municipal Right-of-Way in our Clearwater County policy section.
For sign requests please submit a letter detailing the request including: sign type, proposed locations, along with the supporting information or reasoning for the request. Please include your contact information. Sign requests will then be reviewed at the appropriate level and the person making the request will be informed once a decision has been made in accordance with Clearwater County's policy.
 
Culverts

Living in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains means we have a lot of water flow at different times of the year. Handling these flows requires providing a path for all that water to follow. Clearwater County assesses each location as to the culvert size required, and has a minimum size standard of 500mm diameter. Only a new culvert is allowed in the road right-of-way. Every attempt is made to maintain a clear unobstructed path for the water to follow. Sometimes as a result of work in or around culverts or as a result of the environment we live in, these culverts can become damaged or plugged. These conditions can cause severe and expensive damage to the road infrastructure, if not corrected.

If you wish to report or identify large pooling of water in ditches, beside a road way, a damaged or plugged culvert please contact the County Office at 403-845-4444, or email at publicworks@clearwatercounty.ca
Approximately 1,873 kilometres 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 percent 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 Kilometres
 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
  160
 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.
Documents
Forms
Gravel Roads

Clearwater County requires 'Dry Track Only' on all gravel roads.

Clearwater County maintains a strong working relationship with Industry. This achieves a balance between the needs of industry and general public. Clearwater County has one full time employee that handles industry requests.

The following are general guidelines for oil and gas developments within Clearwater County. Clearwater County reserves the right to add other site specific conditions as required.


Pipeline Proximity to Road Allowance Conditions

The request for proximity to government road allowance with a pipeline requires The Oil Company to have a 40 metre set back, on a 20 metre County right-of-way and/or 45 metre set back on a 30 metre County right-of-way, from center line of developed or undeveloped road allowance to the closest edge of the pipeline right-of-way or The Oil Company may enter into a proximity agreement with Clearwater County. Please advise this office in writing of your decision.

Well site Proximity to Road Allowance Conditions

The Oil Company must maintain a 5 metre set back from Clearwater County property to oil company property line. The Oil Company will grant in writing Clearwater County permission to encroach onto Oil Company’s lease property without impacting A.E.R. guidelines.

Access Road Crossing Developed/Undeveloped Road Allowance Conditions

Access Road crossing developed/undeveloped road allowance must cross/meet at 90 degrees to the road allowance centerline.

Access Road Proximity to Road Allowance Conditions
  • The Oil Company must maintain a 5 metre set back from Clearwater County property to oil company property line UP TO a maximum of 150 metres from requested approach.
  • The access road may parallel the developed road allowance for a maximum of 150 metres to achieve the 150 metre sight lines.
  • The access road paralleling an undeveloped road allowance must be set back 40 metres from Clearwater County property line of the undeveloped road allowance.


 Construction of an Approach and Use an Existing Approach Conditions

  • Minimum 8.0 metre - maximum 12 metre (40 feet) will be required on gravel roads & 12m  minimum off surfaced roads upon completion of the project.
  • All side slopes will require 3:1 slopes.
  • The following unobstructed sight distance requirements must be obtained for any approach and to be constructed on municipal road allowance: 150m for a roadway with less than 1,000 vehicles per day; 200m for a roadway with 1,000 vehicles per day or greater (sightlines shall be measured utilizing a sight point that is 1m high located adjacent to the proposed access point on the shoulder of the road)
  • All required culverts must have a minimum diameter of 500m.
  • 12 Tonnes of gravel initially on approach, more as required to eliminate tracking mud onto the Municipal road.
  • Proper Drainage.
  • No maintenance is provided by the County.
  • New or existing approaches applied for in Clearwater County must be visibly staked at the location of the requested site and labeled with the access to intended location.
  • Access roads or approaches entering a County road shall be setback from an intersection a minimum of 150m, unless they fall under the grandfather clause.
  • A minimum spacing of 50 meters is required between individual approaches.
  • No more than four (4) approaches per half (1/2) mile or eight (8) per quarter section are permitted, unless more existed prior to July 1, 2007.

Pipeline Crossing Developed Road Allowance Conditions

The Oil Company must have a License Agreement in place with Clearwater County for pipelines crossing road allowances. To install a pipeline in developed road allowances the pipeline must be placed 2.5 metres depth below bar ditch bottom. The following conditions apply to developed crossings:
  • The roadway and ditches are to be returned to the existing standard and condition at your expense with no right of contribution from the Clearwater County.
  • The Oil Company will be responsible for the repair and maintenance of the said roadway for a period of twenty-four (24) months from the date of completion of crossing.
  • The Oil Company will be responsible for aligning the crossing to at 90 degrees angle to road allowance centerline.
  • No permanent facility/structure within 30 metres of edge of right-of-way.
  • Contact Clearwater County a minimum of 24 - 48 hours prior to any boring under Municipal road allowances.
A crossing of a road allowance shall be constructed with no bends in the pipeline within the road allowance including any designated future road widening and within 8 meters of each side thereof.

Pipelines Crossing Undeveloped Road Allowance Conditions
 
The Oil Company must have a License Agreement in place with Clearwater County for pipelines crossing road allowances. To install a pipeline on undeveloped road allowance it must be placed at a 2.5 metres depth. The following conditions apply to undeveloped crossings.
  • If the County’s undeveloped road allowance is developed, The Oil Company will be responsible for re-aligning the crossing to at 90 degrees angle to road allowance centerline.
  • The Oil Company will be responsible for the repair and maintenance of the said roadway for a period of twenty-four (24) months from the date of completion of crossing.
  • No permanent facility within 40 metres from center line of the undeveloped road allowance. The Oil Company owning the Pipeline will be responsible for the repair and maintenance of the said undeveloped road allowance for a period of twenty-four (24) months from the date of completion of the crossing.

A crossing of an undeveloped road allowance shall be constructed with no bends in the pipeline within the road allowance including any designated future road widening and within 8 meters of each side thereof.

Pipelines Paralleling Road Allowance Condition
 
A pipeline paralleling a road allowance shall be located a minimum of 30 metres from the boundary of the road allowance including any designated future road allowance widening.

General Requirement for all Work on Municipal Road Allowances

1. When working in/around a Clearwater County road allowance, proper signage must be used as per Clearwater County policy. Flag person(s) shall be utilized to safe guard public traffic when equipment is working within the road allowance and disrupts the normal flow of traffic. Public traffic on all Clearwater County road allowances shall maintain the right-of-way at all times.

2. Road Use Permits are required on all truck hauls that are 10 or more loads in a day. Typical conditions included in Road Use Permits are:

    • Water trucks for dust control will be supplied by the permit holder.
    • Grader maintenance on the County roads to be undertaken by the permit holder while haul is in progress. The grader maintenance shall keep the road surface in the same or better condition as it was prior to the haul commencing. (A grader must accompany the haul at all times).
    • Road repairs will be undertaken to the County’s satisfaction and will be at the sole cost of the permit holder. The haul route shall be evaluated by the permit holder upon completion of the haul to determine all areas which require re-gravelling. The rate at which these areas will be gravelled will be determined by a Clearwater County representative. ¾" gravel shall be used for re-gravelling.
    • Public notification of the move shall be made by the posting of signs at specific locations.
    • In case of rain or wet conditions, the trucks are to be stopped immediately in order to protect the road from damage.
    • Move only on frost.

3. Dust control is also required when traffic volumes generated by a development or activity exceed 5 trips in any given one hour period.

4. Single Trip Permits are required on a truck haul with a single load.
 
To receive a single trip permit contact:

Government of Alberta - Alberta Transportation Online Service - TRAVIS MJ

Government of Alberta - Alberta Transportation Central Permit Office 1-800-662-7138

Roadata - 1-888-830-7623

5. TAC Permits must be carried by the trucking company when traveling on Clearwater County roads.

Policies
Public Works crews are expected to have gravel roadways opened up within 96 hours of the end of a snow storm or series of storm events.

From November to April, members of Public Works staff are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and monitor highway conditions throughout the day and night.

Clearwater County has 341 kilometers of paved roadways, which are cleared with truck snowplows. Our 1900 kilometers of gravel roadways are cleared using graders. There are 13 grader beats in the County, with an average of 162 kilometers per beat. Grader operators alternate their starting location, which means some roads are cleared first this time, and others next time. Depending on road conditions, it can take up to 96 hours for a grader to complete its entire beat.

There are many factors that contribute to how gravel roads are cleared. For instance, graders cannot use their wing on roads until there is enough frost in the ground (otherwise shoulders of the road may be compromised).

Public Works crews do their best to ensure that roadways are opened up as quickly as possible, however, timeframes will vary depending on the severity and duration of the storm.  Click here to see the County's Surfaced Roads Winter Maintenance Operations Plan.

In 2010, Council adopted a Clearwater County Code; a document developed to clarify service delivery standards and what to expect when you choose to live in a rural area.

Rural residents should also have an emergency plan in place as any road can become impassable in extreme weather. It is important to have enough food, supplies and medications on hand to last for several days should you be snowed in. Should travel be required – for work or medical reasons – it is up to residents to make sure you have the right vehicle, like a 4x4, that will get you to where you need to go – or have a family member or neighbour lined up that does.

Snowplows and graders are not redirected to clear roadways based on requests from residents.

Snow Clean Up Efforts: Once all County roads have been opened up, crews and equipment begin the longer process of roadway clean-up. Graders make clean-up passes to breakdown the windrows along the ditches, to help improve line of sight and also to move snow further into the ditch for future snow storage and proper spring drainage. Graders are also equipped with specialized ice blades (Sandvik) to help break up the ice to allow gravel to surface – in an effort to provide for better traction on ice packed roads.

When the next snow event resumes, crews will continue to strive to have roadways opened up within 96 hours of the end of a snow storm or series of storm events.
Surfaced roads add another 350 km of road to the Clearwater County road inventory, resulting in a total of 2,222 km. Our current surfaced road inventory is made up of 9.8 km of chip seal, 319.13 km of asphalt surface.

Asphalt Overlay Program: Asphalt overlaying is the process of paving an additional layer of asphalt over existing asphalt.  Asphalt roads have a typical life cycle of approximately 15 years, and with 341 kilometres of asphalt surfaced roadways, the County has a 15 year maintenance strategy that requires an average of 22 kilometres of overlay each year in order to meet the road maintenance strategy. 

Asphalt Repairs and Crack seal: Clearwater County employs five summer students to help complete our crack sealing program starting the end of April to mid-May and finishing up mid-July. The purpose of this project is to seal the cracks on the surfaced roads to prevent moisture from entering into the base causing deterioration of the granular and clay base which in turn will prevent a pot hole from starting to form. The method we use is quite simple but very effective. We simply have cold pour oil in a tank and pump it through a controlled spray wand filling the crack. Then a person uses a squeegee to smooth and push it into the crack. The oil we use air dries in about fifteen minutes or less. Clearwater County has just over three hundred kilometers of crack sealing to do each year.
 
Oras Coulee Frost Heave: One of the ways Clearwater County has repaired frost heave areas is by using fabric, drain rock and insulation. This method has been very successful in the past.  We first excavate and locate the spring, drain it out through the shoulder of the road and then apply a layer of filter fabric to the excavated area. On top of the fabric we apply a layer of washed rock to allow the spring water to flow through and out the shoulder. Then we install a layer of Frost Heave Solutions material, which is an insulated material that stops frost from penetrating the area and freezing up in the spring. Finally we back fill and compact it back up to the driving surface.  

Snow Removal: Clearwater County has five plow trucks and annually hires one contract truck. Each truck has a designated beat that averages approximately 60 km. Sand and salt is pre-stacked in strategic locations and applied on a "as need" basis. Click here to see the County's Surfaced Roads Winter Maintenance Operations Plan. During the summer months the County plow trucks are down rigged and utilized on other County programs.  

Clearwater County has an on call system that consists of thirteen employees. Each truck alternates two drivers. Each employee is on call twenty four hours a day and seven days a week. After his on call week is completed, he then becomes the secondary driver in case of a twenty four hour snow storm. Two employees are responsible for weather watch on a weekly basis.

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.
Clearwater County owns and maintains three communal sewer systems within the Hamlets of Leslieville, Condor, and Nordegg town site.

In the Hamlets the wastewater is collected by a gravity feed to the lift stations where it is then pumped to the lagoons located outside the hamlets.

The current Nordegg sewer system is pure gravity feed. All wastewater is collected into a single cell aerated lagoon where it is treated.

Reports

In an effort to maintain the infrastructure Clearwater County has active maintenance programs including ongoing lift station and lagoon monitoring. Lagoon discharge and sewer main flushing occur in the fall of the year.

Nordegg townsite is supplied by two water wells which draw off underground aquifers. The water is chlorinated and filtered then pumped to treated water reservoirs with capacities of 1,746,280 liters or 461,318 gallons. The townsite water distribution system is pressurized by gravity from the reservoir located above the townsite. The pressure is kept constant by two pressure reducing valves strategically placed within the distribution system. A potable water station is also located within the townsite, which provides water for cottage owners and businesses in the area.

The water itself is classified as high quality ground water. Daily tests are performed and weekly samples are sent to a lab to ensure quality. The system is run in accordance with the parameters set out by Alberta Environment.

Reports

Clearwater County tests water weekly to ensure quality of water. These results are available upon request.