City asks for Winnipeggers’ patience in plowing debacle
Sidewalks, residential streets still awaiting plows after two major dumps of snow
City officials are asking Winnipeggers to be patient with plowing efforts after weeks of enduring deeply rutted roads and blocked sidewalks.
City crews began plowing residential streets this Sunday, days after a major snowfall.
A call was made based on our policy and that was the decision that was made.- Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz
A number of zones were missed or conflicted with garbage pickup.
Mayor Sam Katz said the extreme cold and excess snow are contributing to the problem, and crews are trying to “complete the work as quickly as possible.”
The warm weather anticipated on Thursday and through the weekend should ease snow clearing operations, he added.
City officials said crews will be deployed Wednesday night to deal with ridges and snow piled up at intersections. Katz said traffic played a big role in why some major streets have ruts and others are clear.
Crews are also out trying to plow sidewalks, but due to the extreme cold they have to use blowers rather than plows. Priority one and two sidewalks are expected to be completed by Thursday morning. Residential sidewalks won’t be completed for at least seven days.
As for those residential streets that were missed while the parking ban was in place, officials said all missed zones should be plowed by Saturday.
Katz hedges on whether plows should have gone out earlier
Katz admitted on Wednesday that there are a lot of questions about what happened with the city’s latest plowing efforts.
"Will there be people saying that we should have gone out earlier? Absolutely. I'm not going to disagree. I'm not going to agree," he said. "The realities are — was that an option? Yes but a call was made based on our policy and that was the decision that was made."
The city’s director of public works, Brad Sacher, acknowledged a lot of citizens are angry but said there was no way to better prepare for the weather.
“I think we’re all somewhat surprised at how low the temperatures got and how consistently they’ve stayed low and basically made it very difficult to go back and remove those ridges,” he said.
Chris Lorenc, the president of the Manitoba Heavy Construction Association, said roads are in very bad shape but said there’s only so much plows could do.
“We had snow dumps on the 22, 24, 26 [and] 27 — all in the midst of a deep freeze,” he said. “[That] is not a set of circumstances that we have typically been associated with.”
Now, officials are hoping the warm weather will allow re-deployed plows to do a better job.
According to Katz, hindsight is 20-20.
"I think if someone had a crystal ball and could have seen everything in the future, they might have made different decisions, but the reality is none of us have that," said Katz.