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City crews to remove snow buildup

15 years since last time this was done

By: Viola Pruss

  |  Posted: Saturday, Jan 11, 2014 06:00 am

CLEARING UP – The city's public works department says it will remove snow and ice in residential neighbourhoods.
CLEARING UP – The city's public works department says it will remove snow and ice in residential neighbourhoods.
FILE PHOTO/St. Albert Gazette

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Excessive weather conditions in November and December are now forcing city snow clearing crews to remove snow and ice buildup on collector roadways rather than just pushing it to the side, in anticipation of more snowfall.

During the last two months, St. Albert had received more than 90 centimetres, or about three feet, of snow. That’s almost double the amount the city usually gets during that time of the year, said Dan Rites, director of public works.

“Typically we do one residential snow clearing in a year but this year, with the amount of snow that we had, we foresee having to do another clearing,” Rites said. “We are hoping we certainly don’t get that much snow but with January being a heavy snow month our prediction is we have to do more.”

The city has four priority roadway designations in its regular snow clearing policy. Highways, such as Ray Gibbon Drive and St. Albert Trail, are to be cleared first, followed by arterial roads – the higher traffic areas, Rites said.

Collector roadways encompass all bus routes and many of the school bus roads. All other residential roads are cleared last, once snow builds up between 12 to 15 centimetres and hinders people from driving, he said.

While cars can now drive on collector roadways, Rites said the snow and ice buildup on the side doesn’t leave much room to manoeuvre.

“Collectors are where people are parking and, of course, as the road width becomes less and less you have two parked vehicles and then you end up having only one lane in the middle which creates some safety issues,” he said.

Reports from Environment Canada show this year produced the third largest snowfall in the area since 1960, and the worst since 1996. Rites said the last time city crews had to haul snow away from the roads rather than just clear them was probably 15 years ago.

The city’s snow removal crews will take between two and three weeks to clear the roadways, he added. However, if it begins to snow again, crews may have to revert back to higher priority roads, he added.

If residents notice the crews working in their area, the crews appreciate them parking somewhere else or, if possible, to stay in the driveway. Anyone encountering problems with driving on their street or looking for more information can contact the city’s public works department at 780-459-1557 or visit


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