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Home > Passenger Vehicles > Road Safety > Winter Road Safety > Road Maintenance in Winter

The ministère des Transports puts everything to work to take the edge off of winter by taking care of road maintenance according to observed conditions: type and intensity of precipitation, temperature, wind, traffic flow, etc. No matter what the weather, we spare no effort to ensure the best possible road conditions everywhere in Québec.

Salt, Calcium or Sand ?

Depending on the temperature and the desired result, materials are chosen to ensure the effectiveness of maintenance operations. The choice is made with care.

  Melting Agent Abrasive
Material Salt (sodium chloride) Calcium chloride Sand, gravel or crushed rock
Properties Helps melt snow and ice remaining after maintenance operations Melting agent more effective at lower temperatures than sodium chloride Roughens the road surface, increasing tire adhesion
Use The most common melting agent. Most effective at temperatures over -10ºC. Small quantities added to salt and abrasive. Increase salt's effectiveness at temperatures below -15 ºC.  Never used alone. Used alone or in combination with small quantities of melting agents used on all types of roads when temperatures are below -15 ºC.

Make Way for Maintenance Vehicles

Maintenance vehicles seem to get in the way. But without them, it would be impossible to clear the roads. They do their best work at 50 km/h! You pass them at your own risk, especially since there is no way of knowing what the road will be like in front of them or how hard the blowing snow frequently caused by their work will hit you. So be patient and courteous in their presence.The maintenance on any given road depends on its traffic capacity and functional classification.  Here are examples of snow removal and de-icing requirements for various types of roads:

  • Autoroutes with a traffic with a flow that can sometimes exceed 100 000 vehicles a day:

    Entire width of roadway cleared.  
Photograph of a freeway in winter
  • Main highways with a traffic flow of 2500 or more vehicles a day:

    Entire width of roadway cleared.  
Photograph of a main highway in winter - Flow of 2500 or more vehicles a day
  • Main and regional highway with a traffic flow of 2500 or less vehicles a day:

    Roadway cleared over a width of 3 metres on straight sections and over a width of 5 metres on curves, on slopes and at intersections.  
Photograph of a main or regional highway in winter - Flow of 2500 or less vehicles a day
  • Collector roads with a traffic flow of less than 500 vehicles a day:

    Roadway with a hard snow base.  
Photograph of a collector road in winter - Flow of 500 or less vehicles a day
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