4 Reasons Why Piling Your “Private Snow” on Roads is a “No”

A “private snow” problem has landed on provincial roads in more populated parts of rural BC.

Some residents and property managers have been plowing their driveway snow onto ministry roads, and they need to know that their actions put people and property in peril. Here’s why it’s in your best interests and the public’s best interests, NOT to pile your snow on public roads.

 #1 It’s Dangerous to Others

When snow from private properties encroaches on the roadway, motorists may have difficulty seeing oncoming traffic or pedestrians. The snow also reduces the space available for pedestrians and vehicles to share the road, and that can bring them dangerously close together in possibly slippery conditions.

Behind this snowbank is a stop sign. It’s difficult to see oncoming traffic with a large snow pile blocking the view.

#2 Snow Piles Interfere with Plowing

Piles of snow on ministry roads are also an issue for our maintenance contractors, because they’re obstacles to plowing. A grader and loader may have to be brought in to remove the snow. Our budgets are not intended for clearing “private snow” off public property.

When plows need to detour around piles of snow or can’t remove snow from the road, due to large deposits that must first be removed, then everyone who travels the area gets a lower level of maintenance.

This dashcam photo shows two challenges for the plow truck driver: (1) Large amounts of snow piled and spilling onto the roadway. (2) Inability to see potential hazards while approaching the stop sign.

#3 Drainage and Damage Problems

Piling snow onto boulevards and ditches is also a “snow-no.” Why’s that? Snow piles can interfere with drainage, causing damage to both public and private property. You could find yourself in a costly conflict with a neighbour or the Province of BC.

#4 It’s Against the Law

It’s actually illegal to move snow onto a public right of way (eg. provincial road, ditch, bridge or boulevard) under Section 62(1) of the Transportation Act. People who do that, may have to pay for the removal of the snow, if it’s deemed a safety hazard or a risk to damaging public infrastructure, or if it damages infrastructure.

The angle of the right turn at this snowy intersection makes it difficult to see traffic coming from the left.

In some communities, our maintenance contractors have delivered letters written by ministry operations managers, advising residents that their snow storage practices are in contravention of the Transportation Act. The letter asks property owners or managers to contain their snow within their properties, and encourages them to call our offices if they have any questions.

There’s “snow way” around it – when residents deposit the white stuff from their driveways onto ministry roads, boulevards or ditches, it’s a practice that needs to stop, for everyone’s safety.

Check out these blogs, for more information on how you and your property might connect with us:

Have a question about plowing or winter maintenance? You’ll find lots of blogs on the topic on our website, or ask us below.

6 comments on “4 Reasons Why Piling Your “Private Snow” on Roads is a “No””

Leave a Reply to Patrick Longworth Cancel reply

  1. actually, when homeowners and property managers do this they become liable for anything that happens, accidents etc .. and most people don’t realize that..

    • This is correct, good point, if private home owners create a hazard on the road they may be found responsible if incidents occur.