Trucks running day and night to haul record snowfall to Moncton's snow dump
Up to 400 trucks per day working to clear streets — and make room for more snow
A steady stream of trucks, filled to the brim with snow, enters the snow dump on Berry Mills Road in Moncton day and night.
The goal is to try to clear city streets and sidewalks of snow during what has already been a record year for snowfall.
"So right now we're averaging about 300 trips per day to the snow dump here alone, and during our peak times that actually gets over 400," said Austin Henderson, manager of strategic communications for the City of Moncton.
"You can imagine all of that snow is coming from different streets, residential areas throughout the city and it's coming here so that our crews can have room to clear the sidewalks, widen the streets and get our full network back open."
January saw more snowfall accumulation in Moncton than recent years, and that snow is staying put. And with more storms in February, one of which went on for several days, there is more snow on the ground now than there was in 2015, the last time the city saw a similarly significant snowfall.
The challenge is the compounded effect of back-to-back storms.
"When all of that snow accumulates, it means we don't have time to finish the full network by the time we have to restart it again," Henderson said.
By the time the last few storms hit, the clogging was noticeable.
"A lot of residents have noticed that the streets are very narrow and a lot of sidewalks are getting done much more slowly than they usually would be," he said.
"And that's because to even get the sidewalks open or widen the streets we need to get rid of that snow, because otherwise there's quite literally nowhere for it to go."
That's where the snow dump comes in.
After 2011 and 2015, which both saw significant snowfalls, the city decided to enlarge the snow dump at Berry Mills Road and to construct another snow-storage facility in the Caledonia area.
When streets and sidewalks are cleared, the snow is trucked to the snow dump.
Plows push the loads of snow back, then large blowers come in and spray the snow upward, creating a long snow mountain and making room to keep adding snow.
Henderson understands that some people are frustrated with the pace of snow removal.
But he says these are extraordinary circumstances and the city is taking extra measures to cope with them, including implementing daytime parking restrictions in rotating areas of the city where they're clearing snow.
"So our priority right now is to widen those streets, get rid of some of that snow in order to make space for the snow from the sidewalks and from the road edges," he said. "And then we'll be able to get around to things like widening the corners."
For now, there is still plenty of room left at the snow dump.
Henderson is hoping that doesn't change — but considering it's only mid-February in a year that has already packed several snowy punches, he's planning for the fact that it might.
"Really, at this point, what we're doing is getting ready for the storms that inevitably will be coming in the weeks to come," he said.