City of Red Deer public works manager Greg Sikora. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

City sanding crews were ready for winter weather (with poll)

Winter weather arrived pretty much on schedule last weekend — which means the City of Red Deer was fully prepared with sanding crews to make slippery roads safer.

Public works manager Greg Sikora said his department reschedules workers at the end of every October to ensure there’s a round-the-clock rotation of crews ready to put sand or salt brine down on roads and bridges whenever it’s needed.

Sunday, workers were put to the test when some 600 kilometres of local roadways were blanketed by snow that fell on top of icy rain.


“There are challenges whenever you’re going through significant weather and road temperature changes” — as happened with Sunday’s dramatic temperatures drop, said Sikora.

The “complicating factor” was the freezing rain, he added.

When roads begin to freeze, he noted, snow doesn’t stick to them anymore — so the city’s public works department needs to ensure motorists don’t lose control on hills and bridges.

Three city trucks with a crew of about 14 people were deployed at around 11 p.m. Sunday to lay a salty brine solution that melts ice on hills and bridges. This took until about 2 a.m. Monday.

To continue preparing for Monday morning commuters, about 12 sanding trucks began to lay a “pickled sand” mixture on major traffic corridors, such as Gaetz Avenue, Ross Street, Taylor Drive, 32nd and 67th streets.

Sikora said the sand is mixed with about five per cent road salt.

These sanding trucks were on standby, as Sikora’s department had been preparing for the onset of winter since August, with machinery inspections and maintenance.

The trucks are loaded from a massive 14,000-tonne pile of sand that sits under a roof in the city’s civic yards. City public works crews spread this on icy roads when temperatures are between zero and about -12 C.

A different mixture is applied to icy streets when the air temperature is between -12 and -20 C.

Below -20 C, nothing really works as a de-icing agent, said Sikora, whose department has a $5.3-million budget for clearing winter roads — slightly more than last year.

Although Red Deer hasn’t yet been hit with a huge snowfall, the city’s 13 plows and six graders are also ready to go when needed, he added. (Contractors also contribute to the snow-clearing effort).

Once the highest priority bridges and arterial roads are cleared, neighbourhood plowing is done according to a schedule that changes slightly every winter.

Meanwhile, Sikora encourages anyone who needs sand for their driveways to come and load up for free from a yellow box at the entrance to the city’s civic yard, on 40th Avenue, north of 77th Street.

He also encourages city residents to sign up for the Alert system that gives advance notifications of snow plowing routes. It can be done on the city’s website, www.reddeer.ca.



lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Central zone down to 16 active COVID-19 cases

Alberta Health Services’ central zone is down to 16

Red Deer drum circle aims to ‘bring different cultures together’

Central Alberta Refugee Effort, Urban Aboriginal Voices Society hosted the event Friday

Students reassured pandemic’s academic impact will be taken into account

Some Grade 12 students concerned how pandemic will affect their post-secondary plans

Liberals vow wage-subsidy extension to 2021, revamp of EI system in throne speech

Canadian labour market was hammered by pandemic, when lockdowns in the spring led to a loss of 3 million jobs

Paris stabbing suspect wasn’t on police radar, minister says

Paris stabbing suspect wasn’t on police radar, minister says

POLL: Will the COVID-19 pandemic influence your plans to celebrate Thanksgiving?

Will the COVID-19 pandemic influence your plans to celebrate Thanksgiving?… Continue reading

As restaurants brace for cold weather, second wave, industry seeks meal subsidy

As restaurants brace for cold weather, second wave, industry seeks meal subsidy

Gateway Casino gets first federal loan for big employers, worth $200 million

Gateway Casino gets first federal loan for big employers, worth $200 million

Calfrac makes changes to recapitalization plan in an effort to woo shareholders

Calfrac makes changes to recapitalization plan in an effort to woo shareholders

Tourmaline Oil files preliminary prospectus for $252.5M Topaz Energy IPO

Tourmaline Oil files preliminary prospectus for $252.5M Topaz Energy IPO

Furloughed WestJet workers demand clarity on wage subsidy program amid pay cut

Furloughed WestJet workers demand clarity on wage subsidy program amid pay cut

Technology and utilities push TSX up to end choppy week of trading; loonie dips

Technology and utilities push TSX up to end choppy week of trading; loonie dips

Most Read