1st mid-week snowstorm has city crews busy clearing roads
Calgary transportation department has new equipment to speed up snow removal
City road crews were out all night and through the morning working to clear the eight to 10 centimetres of snow that fell Tuesday afternoon.
Motorists should expect winter driving conditions for their Wednesday commute, said Sean Somers, spokesman for the city’s transportation department.
“This is actually the first weekday snowstorm we’ve had this winter season,” he said. “So certainly plan a little bit of extra time, slow down and drive safe.”
Crews are putting down a mixture of gravel and salt — known as pickle — because at the current temperature salt can’t melt the ice, Somers said.
“The thing for us, it’s all about the actual temperature of the roads, not the ambient temperature,” he said.
Somers said road crews are clearing Calgary streets according to a standard schedule.
“So the snow stopped yesterday afternoon, and our 7-day plan says that within the first 24 hours of snow stopping we’ll be off the priority one, or commuter routes, and then on to the collectors and lastly on to residential,” he said.
Bridge decks, hills and off-ramps are typically the problem spots. Crews put down liquid calcium or additional salt to try to keep them clear, Somers said.
The city has some new equipment this year to beef up its snow clearing capabilities, including about a dozen new wing-plows — attachments on the sides of trucks that put a blade out an extra couple of metres.
Using wing-plows, crews can clear Crowchild Trail, for example, in a two-wide echelon formation instead of three, Somers said.
“We have also v-plows, which are attachments that go onto the front of the vehicle. And so that affords us a little bit more flexibility in terms of our ability to move the snow strategically and get it off to the side of the road,” he said.