Roads (Public Works)
The County takes care of over 2,000 km of roads, most with a gravel surface. Fourteen grader routes ensures timely and effective maintenance. The skilled operators assigned to each of these areas will generally take about two weeks to make the rounds of their route during the summer months.
Dead-end roads to residences may be maintained, as specified in Policy R3. Undeveloped road allowances may be maintained as a bladed trail for access to farm and ranch lands or alternatively, graveling the ruts of grassed-in road allowances may be cost shared 50%, as noted in Policy R9. To alleviate snow drifting conditions and increase agricultural utilization of roadsides, Policy R6 details the backsloping process.
In some high traffic areas, a dust control coating is applied to reduce daily maintenance costs while enhancing quality of life. However, these roads come at a much higher cost than gravel roads. In very high traffic areas and places where commercial traffic warrants a high grade road, hot-mix pavement is applied.
Bridges, cattle guards (Texas gates) and sign maintenance are also tasks under the roads portfolio.
Building and upgrading roads takes place throughout the summer. A high grade gravel road will cost about $100,000 per mile ($62,000/km) and council typically approves about 12 miles each year. In addition, an oil or dust control surface will add another $100,000 and hot-mix pavement will cost about $1,000,000 per mile.
Financial cost sharing of construction of roads to new residences in the agricultural area of the County is available. Policy R14 has the details.
Private Dust Control
Private dust control adjacent to single farmsteads or country residences is available for an annual fee of $300.00. A 200 metre strip of oil and gravel is mixed on site, packed and then maintained indefinitely. Multi-parcel country residential subdivision residents can request hot-mix pavement only, at a cost of $500/year for 25 years. Polilcy R1 and Policy R13 have the details.
Road Bans & Special Permits
To ensure the road system is not damaged by heavy trucks, a road ban system with oversize load permits has been established. Commercial carriers can get permits from RoaData Services Ltd using their toll free contacts: Service Rig: 1.888.830.7623, Heavy Haul: 1.888.444.9288, Drilling Rig / Well Servicing: 1.888.730.3745.
Local permits are available through the County office for agricultural products. Current banned roads are listed here.
Six snow plow trucks with sanders and 12 grader plows keep traffic moving in Cypress County.
Trucks are only used on hard surface roads, mainly consisting of hills, arterial and collector roads, such as Eagle Butte Road and Township Road 120. Once these priority roads are cleared and sanded, the trucks will enter country residential subdivisions and lastly the hamlets.
Graders are the machine of choice for gravel roads. The County practice is to wait until there is an accumulation of 4" (10 cm) of snow before plowing as any less may result in too much gravel being removed from the ridges that naturally form from the traffic. The first priority for the graders is school bus routes. Then feeder roads are done, such as the Bull Trail south of Irvine. The last roads to be done are those leading up to individual farm residence driveways. After a general snow storm, it will take about three days before all roads have been plowed. In the interest of operator and public safety, equipment typically only operates during daylight hours.
All roads signs are placed according to Canadian Standards. They indicate potential hazards so that drivers can take appropriate action to stay safe.
The road naming system in the rural area is based on Township Roads running east-west and Range Roads running north-south. A few roads are named due to their curving nature. The addressing system is also based on this road network.
In hamlets, roads are named or numbered, primarily following a pattern established when the area was settled.
Reports of damaged, broken or missing signs are welcome and can be done through the Report A Problem form under Quick Links.