Halifax area roads improving as crews get handle on snow

Crews have made significant progress plowing roads following Friday’s blizzard, with driving conditions improving in many parts of the Halifax Regional Municipality.

Friday's blizzard left Metro Transit customers stranded

Crews have worked around the clock plowing snow from HRM roads. (Anjuli Patil/CBC)

Crews have made significant progress plowing roads following Friday’s blizzard, with driving conditions improving in many parts of the Halifax Regional Municipality.

The acting superintendent of the city’s winter works says more than 200 crews were out at the height of the storm. 

Darrin Natolino said as of 1 p.m. Saturday roughly 90 per cent of roads had been cleared. The city had held off spreading salt, which is less effective in cold temperatures and was instead using sand to improve traction.

Crews will begin to salt the roads as temperatures rise.

Sidewalk clearing is also going well, Natolino said, although snowbanks are building up.

"Storage is becoming a bit of a problem for snow," Natolino said. "Hopefully a few warm days ahead will help lower the size of some of those snowbanks and we can work on getting some incremental snow removal done, which means hauling snowbanks away and clearing out areas where parking is at a premium."

The forecast is for temperatures to rise in the coming days, which could create icy conditions. Natolino said the city will continue to work so it doesn’t get "caught flat footed."

The state of roads in the Halifax area is better now than the problems that plagued drivers last month when a combination of snow, rain and freezing rain made things treacherous.

Wendy White said she was stranded at the QEII Health Sciences Centre for three hours Friday after Metro Transit shut down service. (CBC)

But Friday's snow created different headaches. Blowing snow led Metro Transit to stop all its buses.

There was an “operational pause” early Friday afternoon, and then supervisors decided at 2 p.m. to stop all service. That lasted until Saturday morning.

The decision, Metro Transit said, was made for safety reasons.

Wendy White, who uses a wheelchair, said she was stranded for three hours at the QEII Health Sciences Centre after she took the Access-A-Bus to the hospital to get an MRI.

After she arrived, Metro Transit suspended service.

“I was left without a way to get home,” she said.

White said it took her hours to get an accessible taxi. She said the city should have someone to call during these situations to tell people who use the Access-A-Bus what they should do.