City crews worked around the clock last weekend when the skies opened up and dumped a record 15 centimetres of snow on St. Albert and the Capital region.
Public works director Glenn Tompolski confirmed that snow removal crews were working 24 hours as the snow fell, keeping arterial and collector roads clear. Snow removal is ongoing as the city moves snow from parking lots and other areas to the compost yard, while trucks are still out at night sanding due to the freezing and thawing cycles taking place.
“It went relatively well considering the amount of snow we had,” Tompolski said. “Being there was no snow on the ground, that definitely helps in terms of accumulation.”
As of Tuesday morning, employees from public works had conducted some testing in residential areas. Tompolski said at this point the city is not contemplating plowing residential roads.
“We did wait for the snow to compact and did some checks in driving lanes,” Tompolski said. “We’re around five centimetres right now so we don’t look at it until it hits 10 centimetres.”
Crews also cleared a few extra parking lots and special locations to ensure they were ready for the start of the 2012 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games.
“We were getting to some extra areas a little quicker than we normally might have.”
The massive drop of snow also presented the first real winter challenge to waste collection crews Monday and Tuesday under the city’s automated garbage and organics pick-up. While many critics of the program had worried of having to push their disposal carts through large snowdrifts, solid waste program co-ordinator Christian Benson said he has heard no real complaints.
“I wanted to wait until after the first day of collection to see if there were any, but there really wasn’t,” Benson said, admitting the total weekend snowfall did not add up to the total cumulative snowfall from last winter.
The only problems Benson noted were slicker streets, which made it more difficult for trucks to manoeuvre, but said most of the complaints that had come in were fairly typical, dealing with missed or late pick-ups.
“It’s nothing out of the ordinary. It might be a bit slower moving than normal because of the snow,” Benson said.
Cooler temperatures, however, might cause organic material in green bins to freeze, which he said was more of a problem during January’s cold snap. Benson recommended using compostable bags for kitchen organic waste and putting some cardboard at the bottom of the bin to create a buffer.
“The most important thing is layering, making sure you have something at the bottom so that it won’t get stuck.”