The clear skies so far this week have probably proved a welcome respite for City snow removal crews.
Last week, according to Kevin Goldfuss, director of municipal services, crews were, “out and working around the clock…. All our staff, all our crews were working this weekend ploughing, snow clearing in the downtown and cleaning up the residential areas.”
City snow removal closely follows garbage and recycling services. By aligning the two services, the City can ensure that those services can carry on uninterrupted while the streets are cleared.
By Wednesday morning Goldfuss estimated that snow clearing operations would be “caught up with respect to the original cleanup.”
“What I mean by that is all the areas within the city have been handled as well as all the residential subdivisions.”
Crews then turn their attention to downtown for a second clean; they then move back into the residential areas. In some cases, they will do both areas simultaneously.
All excess snow is taken to the City’s snow dump at the foot of Comer Street.
“It receives tonnes of snow and we hire a cat to push it as required.”
The inclement weather requires that crews assess road conditions and temperature to determine which product should be applied. Typically the City uses sand with a mixture of salt and magnesium chloride.
Salt alone, says Goldfuss is effective to –7 C but if crews pre-wet it with magnesium chloride the combination will be good to –15 C “under certain conditions.”
Sand is used to improve vehicle traction.
In deciding which product works best crews must take into account road temperature as it is frequently colder than air temperature. Forecasting temperature changes is also important, says Goldfuss, because one product might melt the snow but then cause a refreeze worsening conditions.
“We are sanding, salting, ploughing. We are applying products as the weather allows us to do that,” he says.
Not only is Goldfuss confident about the state of the City’s roads but also about the snow removal budget.
“We’re spending money but our budget is in good shape,” he says.
To help crews with snow removal the City asks residents, if your area hasn’t been ploughed, to park in driveways and keep vehicles off the streets, as well as take garbage and recycling carts off the curb in a timely manner.
“If residents do that we don’t have to go back. It’s just more efficient,” Goldfuss says.