North

Whitehorse city workers pile snow high to keep roads clear after early winter storms

City of Whitehorse crews have been dealing with record amounts of snow on residential streets and roads.

There are more than 600 lane kilometres of roadway to be kept clear, and that snow has to go somewhere

A loader dumps snow into a dump truck in Whitehorse. (Mike Rudyk/CBC)

City of Whitehorse crews have been dealing with record amounts of snow on residential streets and roads. 

Equipment operators have been working steadily to plow the snow and dump it into bucket trucks, street by street. The trucks haul the snow to cleared-out areas known as snow dumps, most of which are close to the subdivision they are clearing.

As one truck is loaded with snow, another is waiting to be filled by a loader operator.

It is a big job — there are more than 600 lane kilometres of roadway to shovel.

The exception is the Alaska and Klondike highways managed by the Yukon government.

"With the large dump of snow that we had early this winter, we immediately recognized that snow storage was going to be an issue," said Richard Graham, manager of operations for the City of Whitehorse.

"So we actually had contractors in with Cats, as well as Snowcats, to help us pile the snow even higher to make sure we have enough room for the season,"

Richard Graham, manager of operations for the City of Whitehorse. (Mike Rudyk/CBC)

Graham said there are 14 snow dumps around Whitehorse, but the biggest one is what's called the South Access Snow Dump.

It's located by the dirt bike race track near Robert Service Way.

"This is the largest snow dump that we have, just because everything downtown ends up here, and this is the only snow dump the city will permit for contractors to dump at as well," Graham said.

"So any snow that is being removed from private property, for those that have permits, they can dump that snow here as well."

He says the mountain of snow at the South Access Snow Dump is up to about 12 metres high in places. 

Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis says snow removal eats up 10 per cent of the city budget, with more than $3 million put aside for the work every year.

"I probably get the most compliments in my role for the Christmas lights and the most complaints about snow," he said.

Curtis said thousands of truckloads of snow will be hauled away this winter to the 14 snow dumps around Whitehorse, keeping a small army of city workers and contractors busy with plenty of overtime.

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