Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Keeping the Snow Off the Roads

We sure do have a lot of snow, don’t we? So much snow that it’s starting to feel like an old-fashioned winter, isn’t it?

All that snow means that Town Staff have to work hard to get it off the roads so you and I can make our way around and in- and out-of Town. Council and I have received many compliments for the way in which Staff have recently cleared the roads.

Take, for example, the snow we had last Wednesday. You will recall that it was supposed to be an all-out blizzard and dump a foot or more of blowing snow upon us. Thankfully we missed the brunt of the storm, but our road crew was out ensuring the roads were clear and safe.

They started very early Wednesday morning and despite the schools being closed, I found the roads quite passable when I headed out at 8:25. When the snow kept falling through the day, Staff kept working until 5:00 PM. Our Road Patroller monitored the situation all evening, and ensured that the main roads were clear. The rest of the crew came back in at 4:00 AM on Thursday to ensure that the majority of roads were cleaned up for you to travel safely later in that morning.

It is the Town’s goal that Staff clear all roads within 24 hours of a “snow event”; occasionally, however, Mother Nature does not cooperate and it takes longer to clear the entire Town. (We appreciate your patience on those occasions!)

As you may have read in the Town’s recently distributed Winter Control Services brochure, the Town is divided into eight snow clearing routes. Within each route, the main roads – the “primary” and “collector” roads – are cleared prior to the local roads – like sidestreets and cul-de-sacs.

That makes sense doesn’t it? Primary roads like Canboro Road, Pelham Street and Effingham Road should be cleared first because they are the main arteries for traffic. Collector roads like Welland Road, Haist Street, and Sixteen Road are also considered priority roads because of the number of vehicles that use them each day. At the same time, Regional Staff ensure our Regional Roads – Highway 20, Victoria Avenue, Webber Road, and Rice Road – are cleared early and often.

The Town’s annual snow control budget is about $500,000. While the amount spent varies from year-to-year, we add any surpluses from one winter – like last year – into a reserve to help pay for work in years with lots of snow – like this year.