City shrugs off snowfall
Storm creates some transit delays but doesn't compare to November blizzard
By: Peter Boer
| Posted: Friday, Mar 22, 2013 05:45 pm
City crews were busy Thursday and Friday cleaning up from a storm that slammed Alberta, but the 25 centimetres of snow that fell still pales in comparison to last November’s storm, which dropped 35 centimetres.
The volume of snow did pose some problems – city buses had to be moved around on different routes to avoid getting stuck in the snow and public works crews worked from Thursday morning through the day Friday to clear all of the arterial and collector roads.
“We did get quite a bit of snow. We had all our crews out,” said Dan Rites, public works director. “It started around 6:30 a.m. and we basically put all our crews out, taking care of arterial roads as a priority.”
Rites said the department is either right on budget or a little over with respect to snow clearing, given it has already conducted one residential clearing in 2013. There is still some work left to do with respect to Thursday’s storm.
“We have a lot left to do with hauling snow piles away,” Rites said. “We ask residents to be patient.”
Rites said the storm Thursday and November’s snowfall were very different. In November, the precipitation started as rain before becoming snow, which led to ice problems. It was also bitterly cold at the time.
“The volume of snow was high (on Thursday) but we didn’t have the ice problem as we did in November,” Rites said. “Now we’re sort of warming up, so really they’re two completely different storms.”
Rites said there were no indications yet another residential snow clearing would be required. Crews were also tackling sidewalks on collector roads, as well as the Red Willow Trail system.
The deluge of snow also caused some problems for St. Albert Transit, said director Bob McDonald. Officials chose to send the department’s smaller buses out on residential routes as the articulated or “bendy” buses more easily become stuck on snow-choked roads.
That move also allowed the department to use articulated buses only on commuter routes. With buses delayed because of slow-moving traffic, particularly during the evening rush-hour period, the decision was made to transfer commuters onto smaller buses at Village Landing for local service, rather than allow the commuter buses to continue on to local service.
Customer service staff were out at Village Landing with Timbits, making sure everyone got to their bus.
“It’s a big inconvenience for our customers but in the evening people just want to get home and I think that’s what we made happen,” McDonald said.
The RCMP detachment said members were kept busy with numerous collisions but there were no serious injuries.