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Road not plowed yet? Here's why

View from a snowplow cab on a West Kelowna street.
Image Credit: West Kelowna
December 20, 2019 - 7:30 AM

If you’re waking up to a fresh dump of snow, you might need to be patient for the snowplows and sanders.

City, town and highway road crews all prioritize the most major routes and when snow falls as fast as it did last night, they might need to keep plowing those roads before they move into neighbourhoods. Standards for city and town roads or highways for major routes may also mean plows can take days or weeks before they reach smaller roads, depending on how extreme the snow event was.

B.C. road maintenance contractors prioritize the province’s roads depending on traffic volume and general function, according to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. Of course, major highways like Coquihalla Highway, Highway 5 north, Highway 1 or 97 or Highway 3A get most of the attention and priority. If they accumulate 4 cm of snow, plowing must be done, with maintenance completed within two days.

The best thing you can do to help is move your vehicle off side the road so plows and sanders can get by. Some municipalities demand you stay off the road for 48 hours to allow crews time to get into neighbourhoods.

A significant snow event can trigger a snow advisory in a municipality such as Kelowna, which results in a temporary parking ban on snow route roads.

The parking ban comes into effect 24 hours after the snow advisory has been issued and is there to help crews clear snow from curb to curb.

Vehicles that remain parked on these roads could be subject to a $50 fine and a towing charge.

Roads in Kelowna and West Kelowna are also assigned a level of priority from one to three, based on things like amount of traffic, emergency access requirements and alternative route availability.

Snow needs to be cleared from sidewalks and pedestrian accesses in front of residential properties within 24 hours.

And before you leave the driveway, make sure your vehicle is well brushed clear of all snow. Drivers can receive a fine up to $368 for not clearing snow off their vehicles in B.C.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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