The City of Red Deer will commence plowing all residential roads down to the pavement next week.
First though it will complete the surface plowing campaign, likely by Friday.
The city’s current residential surface plowing campaign, like the one in December, is designed to “provide accessibility to all residential areas.”
The full plow, to commence early next week, will see graders going through those same residential areas, scraping the snow packed on the street right down to the road.
City public works manager Greg Sikora said the first two residential plowing campaigns had to be done to allow residents accessibility to streets and without them having been done, the full plow would not have been possible given the record snowpacks seen in Red Deer.
The full plow is proceeding, he said, because of the city will likely see another 60-90 cm of snow this winter.
The city is continuing with its current campaign on residential (Priority 6) roads, and will wrap it up in advance of the initial target date of Jan. 14.
Sikora said launching right into the full plow campaign this week so as to only have to go over the residential roads still to be hit as part of the surface plow campaign would put safety and accessibility at risk.
“Quite simply it takes significantly more effort and longer time to get through the same number of roads. We wouldn’t be able to complete all roads by Friday if we were to do a full plow system. That puts areas at risk,” he said.
“The reason we’re doing the flat blading is to gain that accessibility and minimize that pack because we’re having people getting stuck on the streets. It’s a little cooler right now, but when it warms up people would be getting stuck in that pack if we didn’t get this blitz done.”
The full plow campaign is to be completed within a 40-day window, though Sikora said if weather conditions are favourable, the task will be completed well in advance of six weeks.
The full plow campaign will also target bus routes (Priority 4 roads), with crews split between the two target groups and likely working Mondays to Saturdays.
Signage will be placed on roadways in advance of plows, with Sikora warning that vehicles left parked on streets will be ticketed and towed — at a cost of over $150 — as part of the full campaign.
Snow that ends up pushed in front of driveways will be cleared away by city crews, said Sikora, something that has not been done as part of the current and previous surface campaign, angering some residents.
“This campaign, which is the full campaign with the full-size windows, we can’t expect residents to dig through a four-foot windrow, so we will be mechanically moving those open,” he said.
Windrows will be placed on the even side of streets this year.
For cul-de-sacs or other streets where there are only even or odd-numbered homes, windrows will be placed on the north or west side of streets. Sikora said details of exceptions, along with schedules, can be found at www.reddeer.ca.
Full priority six plows, which cost in the neighbourhood of $600,000, typically do not occur until the end of January or early February. The surface plowing campaign, including back alleys, has cost about $250,000, according to Sikora.
In a release announcing the plowing campaign, Mayor Tara Veer said the full plow is being done in response to public feedback. On the city’s Facebook page Wednesday, many residents criticized the announcement, saying the city should not have done the current surface plow campaign in addition to the full plow. Others celebrated the decision.
Sikora said his department will meet with Environmental Services next week to consider adding a temporary snow storage site to handle the snow still to be removed, as the two permanent storage sites are “basically full.”
Up-to-date information on plowing campaigns is available between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. by calling 403-342-8238.