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Red Deer road-clearing crews are trying to keep up after four days of heavy snowfall

Callers have complained of icy stretches
City of Red Deer road plowing crews are trying to get caught up, after four days of heavy snowfall. (Advocate file photo).

More snow than Red Deerians have seen in years is prompting an outpouring of complaints about icy roads to the City of Red Deer.

Roads superintendent Doug Halldorson said hasn’t been counting how many people have called in since a foot and a half of snow was dumped on the city since last week. “More than one and less than 1,000,” he noted on Tuesday.

City teams are trying to respond as quickly as possible to public requests for sanding on icy stretches, said Halldorson. But he’s encouraging Red Deerians to be patient, in the meantime, and “give yourselves extra time” to get places.

Halldorson admitted it hasn’t been easy keeping up with plowing needs when snow has been steadily falling for four days straight — from Friday to Monday.

“We have been plowing, it’s just that it’s been accumulating quickly.”

He believes area residents are not used to seeing this much snow and might not have even had a chance to get snow tires on their vehicles.

“We’ve had more snow, so far, in November than we’ve had a long time.”

Halldorson recalled the last few winters have brought dustings of snow — a few centimeters at a time, compared to the 50 cm that has fallen on the city since Friday.

City crews have been spreading sand at major intersections, as well as at requested locations. The problem is, it’s often snowed after these roads were sanded, so this delays the effects, he added.

Halldorson believes the sand will ultimately work its way to the surface to make these intersections safer.

On major roads, such as Ross Street, where parking is allowed, most of the ploughing has to be done overnight.

Eight or nine city plowing trucks and six graders were busy clearing arterial and collector roadways on Tuesday afternoon. “We have been getting caught up on main roads and we’re going into bus routes,” Halldorson said.

Next week, city teams plan to start on residential street clearing, starting with Snow Zone J and K and then start from the beginning at A to I. (See for the schedule).

Halldorson admitted it’s very early in the season for residential plowing, but this winter has been unusually abrupt and snow-heavy, so far. It’s also far too early to tell how this will impact the city’s snow clearing budget.

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