The new strategy provides a clear distinction for who is responsible for which roads. (CBC)

A new snowplow strategy is saving time and money, says the P.E.I. Transportation Department.

This winter the department introduced a system where its own fleet clears the main roads and private contractors do secondary roads. As a result all roads are getting cleared more quickly.

"The higher volumes roads, we really wanted to bump up the level of service on those roads, so by just putting our fleet on those roads and not having the same fleet plowing a collector road and a local road at the same time, the higher volume roads are getting cleared much quicker," said Darren Chaisson, director of highway maintenance with the province.

"As far as the secondary roads go, well, the coordination is much improved with the contractor coordinating both plowing and the sanding, so there's a much greater efficiency."

Robert Duffy, chair of the snow committee with the P.E.I. Roadbuilders Association, said the new system also allows the contractors to better organize how they clear the roads.

"One of the big things that was always mentioned was that people say I can't understand how you could sand a road and 20 minutes later you could come along and plow it," said Duffy.

"What the people didn't know is there was two contractors providing the service on the same stretch of road, but they didn't communicate and it was one of those things, it was a flawed system and now that the contractors have the sole doing of sanding and plowing, it's a lot better system."

In addition to faster road clearing, the province says the new strategy is saving about $300,000 a year.