Plows descend on residential streets
Soft snow caused by recent melt creates problems for drivers
By: Peter Boer
| Posted: Friday, Jan 18, 2013 03:30 pm
Drivers who are tired of getting caught in the soft snow that’s choking residential streets are in for some relief as the city began a residential snow clearing effort on Friday morning.
Plows descended onto residential streets to scrape the asphalt free of snow that has grown increasingly difficult to navigate because of unseasonably warm temperatures and rainfall.
Bruce Thompson, operations manager for public works, said the compacted snow on residential streets has grown too soft for most vehicles, leading to problems.
“We rely on that snow remaining compacted so vehicles of all shapes and sizes can get through,” Thompson said. “That snow pack has released. It’s become a real challenge for residents to move around.”
This is the second residential snowclearing in the last three months. The city plowed all streets after a storm in November dumped 35 centimetres of snow on the city in a matter of hours.
Guidelines call for the city to clear residential roads if the compacted snow reaches a depth of between 12 and 15 centimetres.
“The depth is almost to our policy depth,” said Thompson. “But the simple fact is it’s not compacted anymore.”
The rain has also caused problems, beyond contributing to melting, Thompson said. Wet roads have stirred up a lot of the sand and salt that crews put down on major roadways. Cars are tracking those materials into residential streets, which is contributing to the melt.
The clearing schedule will be the opposite of the November plowing, with Akinsdale, Forest Lawn and North Ridge plowed first and Pineview, Sturgeon and Deer Ridge cleared last.
St. Albert will also hire as many as 12 contractors to help out city crews.
Thompson said residents can help speed the process along by making sure their vehicles are not parked along the street when their roads are being cleared. The city will post signs in neighbourhoods in advance of plowing.
“That way we can do the whole street curb-to-curb,” Thompson said. “We’ll get in and out as fast as we can.”
For more information on city snowclearing, visit www.stalbert.ca/snowclearing.