Residential Driveways Information Sheet:

Location, Design and Construction on Side Roads Outside Municipalities


This information is provided to assist you in the construction of your Single Family Residential driveway and help you determine:

  1. Best location on your property for an access.
  2. What you need to look for in developing a safe access.
  3. Construction standards for a driveway.

The guidelines outlined in this information sheet apply ONLY to Single Family Residential driveways located on side roads outside municipal boundaries. Different guidelines apply to commercial, industrial or multi-family developments.

Side Roads are defined as being provincially maintained roads that are not major highways or numbered routes (e.g. Highway 1 or Highway 97).

There are a few things that you must be aware of before constructing your driveway.

You will need to decide where to construct your driveway. Once you’ve decided on your access location, you will need to consider a few safety issues to ensure it will work well and not create a safety hazard for other motorists.

There are five main issues to consider when developing a safe access.

Remember these are for your safety and the safety of other road users.

 

(1) LOCATION

A residence can have only one access off a provincially maintained road.

First, you should consider where you are going to position your home and how your driveway will fit into the overall layout. Think about all the seasons. What will it be like in the winter months? Will the location serve as an efficient access to your home?

It is a requirement to provide parking for two vehicles on your property.

Driveways must be located in front of your own property.

Finding the best location along the frontage of your property is very important, remembering that it will provide access to your property for the future.

 

 

(2) GRADE

Grade is the change in elevation of land. When you develop an access, the grade of your driveway should be fairly level for at least the length of your car with a bit of extra space for larger vehicles. This is important during icy conditions. You don’t want to slide onto the road when you try to stop.

If your property is higher than the road, you are required to create a small swale or depression to direct surface water from your driveway to the ditch. This will help prevent water from running onto the road and creating black ice when temperatures drop. A combination of a slight grade and the swale or depression will also help keep access debris off of the road as a result of heavy rains. It is the responsibility of the access owner to clean debris from their driveway off of the road.

 

 

(3) SIGHT DISTANCE

Imagine sitting in your car and you are about to enter the road. You look up and down the road before proceeding. The point where you observe the road is the sight distance. This is important because you need to see approaching traffic and they need to see you.

Required sight distances are dependent upon posted speed limits. Posted speed limits are the white regulatory signs and not the yellow curve advisory signs. Below is a table showing required sight distances for different posted road speed limits.

Posted speed of road –
km/h

Required sight distance –
meters

Required sight distance –
feet

40

80

260

50

100

330

60

120

395

70

140

460

80

160

525

Table 3.1

At locations where sight distance is poor, you may need to clear some of the vegetation to help you achieve the required sight line distance. Remember the vegetation may grow back and you will have to clear it from time to time. It is the responsibility of the access owner to receive permission from the landowner to clear vegetation other than what is needed for the primary access construction.

 

 

(4) DRAINAGE

Drainage is the water that runs from adjacent properties, accesses and the road into the ditch at the side of the road.

Before you construct your access, you need to determine if there is a defined ditch line along your property. If there is an existing ditch, you will need a culvert. Remember that regular road ditch maintenance done by the Ministry maintenance contractor may result in an improved or deeper ditch. We require that you provide a minimum 400-mm (16-inch) diameter corrugated steel pipe (CSP). In coastal areas or areas of high rain runoff, a larger diameter pipe will be required. The culvert should be longer than the width of your driveway. The standard residential driveway is six metres (20 feet). The culvert length should be a minimum of nine metres (30 feet) to allow for the driveway fill on either side of the driveway.

 

 

(5) CONSTRUCTION

Now you know where to locate a safe driveway by addressing sight distance and drainage. Here are the standards for constructing your driveway:

  • When the property is higher than the road, the grade should not be greater than 2% (0.2 metre) for the first 10 metres (30 feet) and there should be a slight swale at the ditch line.
  • Driveways are six metres (20 feet) in width at the junction with the road.
  • Culverts must be corrugated steel pipes with a minimum size of 400-mm (16 inches) by nine metres (30 feet) in length.
  • The culvert should be placed slightly below the invert or lowest point in the ditch. Consider the implications of ditch maintenance and cleaning by the ministry maintenance contractor.
  • The culvert should be covered with granular material to a depth equal to half the diameter of the culvert. For example, if the culvert is 400mm (16 inches) in diameter, the depth of the cover must be a minimum of 200mm (8 inches) in depth. This amount of cover is necessary to protect the culvert from collapse.
  • Sight distance as per Table 3.1 for the particular posted speed of the road your are accessing.
  • Good gravels are to be used in the construction of the driveway as per the attached copy of specifications.

Caution:

Digging into steep slopes may cause the slope to fail and fall onto the road or undermine your building area. If,

  • The access is located in an unsafe location with inadequate sight lines:
  • the access construction is resulting in fdrainage or debris running onto the road; or
  • the access is interfering with roadway and ditch drainage,

you will be required to relocate and/or fix your access, or the Ministry will relocate and/or fix your access and charge you for the costs.

Obtain information on any buried utility. "Call Before You Dig": 1-800-474-6886

Attachments (PDF files):

 

 

Questions and Answers

Question:

Am I responsible for maintenance of my access; including culvert maintenance and replacement and snow clearing in winter?

Answer:

Yes. An individual who has an access to a sideroad is responsible for all maintenance including maintaining or replacing culverts under the access adjacent to the highway, clearing snow from highway plowing operations at the access entrance; and maintaining the access to ensure drainage, gravels or other materials do not spill onto the highway. For accesses on highways other than sideroads maintenance requirements are detailed in the permits required for those highways.

 

 

Question:

How do I know if the difference between a side road and a numbered route?

Answer:

Side roads are provincially maintained roads that are not major highways or numbered routes, e.g. Highway 1 or Highway 97. A side road is generally a residential road and usually carries lower volumes of traffic. If you are in doubt, contact your local Transportation office for clarification.

 

 

Question:

Why can't I just put an access wherever I choose on my property?

Answer:

The location of your access is important for several reasons. First and most important it is to serve your residence, so the location must be compatible with where you want to position your home. Some other considerations are sight distance, the grade of your access into your property, and construction costs. Ministry personnel can give you some advise in this regard if you have any questions.

 

 

Question:

The information sheet talks about improving sight distance by clearing the vegetation, what if there are large trees and how much clearing will I be required to do?

Answer:

This requirement is to improve your sight lines when entering and exiting your property. In some cases, brush within the highway right of way must be removed in order to achieve a better sight line. There are some circumstances where this cannot be achieved such as where there are larger well-established trees within the right of way or where the trees or vegetation may be on your neighbour’s property. It’s important to know where your property lines are.

 

 

Question:

What if the vegetation is on the highway right of way in front of my neighbour’s property, can I remove it?

Answer:

The right of way is public land and that would allow you to work within the right of way. However, as your neighbors may have some concerns about your working in front their property, it would be mandatory that you contact them first and get their agreement to brushing of the right of way.

Before you brush, you may want to check with your local Ministry of Transportation office to see if brushing as part of the regular maintenance program is planned for your area.

 

Question:

If there is a ditch in front of my property and the water only runs during the spring, do I still need to install a culvert?

Answer:

Yes, the culvert is still required. There can be extensive damage to the road and your driveway in a short time if the culvert was not put in place.

 

 

Question:

Can I use Big O plastic pipe for my culvert?

Answer:

Big O plastic pipe can be used, but the construction practices will vary in the installation. The culvert must have more gravels and fill on top of the pipe to buffer it from the weight of vehicles travelling over the pipe. It should be noted that metal pipe is preferred due to its reliability and strength.

 

 

Question:

Where can I find information on driveway construction specifications?

Answer:

The drawing attached to the information sheet is self-explanatory. If you still have questions, there are contractors that can assist you in the development of your driveway. The local Transportation office staff can also assist you.

 

 

Question:

What happens if I do not construct my driveway properly?

Answer:

The Ministry staff and maintenance contractor who routinely monitor the road system will advise you of the deficiency and ask that you repair it. If the repairs are not done within a reasonable time frame, our maintenance contractor will repair your driveway and bill you for costs of the works. This will only be done when the driveway is constructed to a degree that causes serious concerns for traffic safety and the integrity of our road system.

 

 

Question:

Is there someone who I can speak to about constructing my driveway?

Answer:

You can contact your local transportation office for further information.

 

 

Question:

How many accesses can I have off a Ministry road?

Answer:

A residence can have only one access off a provincially maintained road.

 

Contacts

Please contact the Ministry of Transportation office in your area.

For a listing of Area Offices, visit:
Ministry of Transportation Offices