Get ready to dig — but first, move your vehicles.
Red Deer’s next big neighbourhood surface plow blitz starts today at 8 a.m.
The record-breaking snowfall total for November and December of 109.9 cm has put the city in the unprecedented position of almost back-to-back clearing of residential streets. Just to keep things interesting, up to five cm was forecast to fall in Red Deer late Monday.
From October to the end of December, the city received 90 per cent of the snowfall it typically gets in a full winter season. Now warmer weather has made the snow on roads looser, and the challenge of navigating residential streets has returned.
Just three weeks ago the City of Red Deer concluded an initial surface plowing blitz that cost $175,000.
Crews will now do another surface plow — not down to the pavement — and windrows will be placed on both sides of the street.
Starting today, in no particular order, the city will plow Davenport, Deer Park Village, Deer Park Estates, Devonshire, Lonsdale, Lancaster Meadows, Rosedale Estates and Rosedale Meadows.
If these areas are completed as planned, on Saturday the surface plowing will continue on to Highland Green, Lancaster Green, Oriole Park West, Oriole Park, Vanier Woods and Vanier East.
Daily progress updates, the anticipated order of plowing, and a list of what neighbourhoods are scheduled for the following day will be available each day by 6 p.m. on www.reddeer.ca, Facebook and Twitter.
The city expects plowing to be completed by Jan. 14.
At that point, roads will be reassessed. If conditions warrant, steps may include another surface plow or a full plow. This decision will be based on road conditions and any additional precipitation.
Public Works manager Greg Sikora stressed that it is critical that residents move their vehicles off front streets in order for the plows to do their jobs.
“Not only does it speed up efficiency, it speeds up the quality of work being done,” Sikora said Thursday. “We get nice tight windrows . . . We stress that people move their vehicles because we want to provide the best solution available. If they don’t move their vehicles they will be plowed in.”
City crews will work today and Saturday and then again from Monday to Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. until complete.
Sikora said the windrows may block driveways so residents will be responsible for removing the windrows to gain access into their homes.
The city has set up a call centre service — 403-342-8238 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Saturday — for those individuals who do not have the resources to remove the snow. Sikora said the assistance will be provided through the city’s emergency Social Services section. The centre was expected to be operational at 4 p.m. on Thursday.
Graders plowed lanes throughout the city ahead of the garbage collection program on Thursday. Some homes will be missed because the accumulation of snow and warming temperatures has delayed blue box and garbage pickup. The latest round of lane plowing, which began on New Year’s Day, should soon improve conditions and get collection back on track. Until crews are caught up, residents whose homes are missed on their regular collection days this week are asked to put out their garbage and blue boxes again on their scheduled collection day next week.
Residents with questions about garbage and recycling collection can call the Blue Line at 403-340-258
Sikora said the city learned during the first blitz that residents wanted a refuge to move their vehicles off the street into their lanes. He said by plowing the lanes a few days ahead of the residential areas it will allow residents to move their vehicles into the back lanes.
The city’s standard for clearing lanes is to clear and pack to build dual windrows in the back alleys. Clearing of the lanes is expected to take several days.
“There will be some digging in and out but it will provide that accessibility for garbage collection, recycling as well as people to get to their backyards,” said Sikora.“So there will be a bit of a digging out process. That is one step ahead of the residential plow. It will be very similar campaign but on the front streets, the day later.”
The above average snowfall has made it difficult to spot fire hydrants. Residents are asked to clear snow around fire hydrants on and near their property to allow emergency personnel quick access if needed.
As of Monday evening there was no indication by Environment Canada that any of the 30 to 40 cm forecast to fall by Saturday morning in the mountain parks regions — Jasper, Banff and Kananaskis — would make its way to Central Alberta. Much of that snow was expected to fall over higher terrain.