Langley City and Township are reminding residents about some of the rules regarding snow, salt, sand and sidewalks.
During the winter season, the City’s Engineering and Parks Operations Division is responsible for maintaining approximately 74 kilometres of road and regularly monitoring City streets during the winter weather.
Before the first snowflake falls the Operations Division applies salt brine, and then continues with salt, salt/sand mix, and straight sand during the snowfall events to ensure the roads, municipal properties and park facilities are safe for winter driving.
The supply of salt and salt/sand mixes is limited and is applied based on priority.
The Snow Control Priority Map illustrates how the City’s Operations Divisions prioritizes the road clearing efforts and the Sidewalk and Parking Lot Snow Removal Map demonstrates all of the other City’s snow clearing priorities.
Under Section 8(4) of the City’s Highway and Traffic Regulation Bylaw No. 2871, it is the responsibility of the owners or occupiers of a property to remove any accumulation of snow or ice from the sidewalks and walkways bordering the property within 24 hours after the snowfall has stopped or prior to the depth of snow accumulation exceeding 10 centimetres.
Although the City may issue a fine of $100 for each day the offense occurs and the City has issued some warnings, the City takes the first approach of informing and educating owners of occupiers of their obligation to remove any accumulation of snow or ice from the sidewalks and walkways for the benefits of pedestrians, walkers and scooters.
To help the keep roads and sidewalks safe this season, park in a driveway or parking lot rather than on the street (whenever possible) to make way for snow plow equipment.
• When shovelling snow, pile it onto your property instead of on the road or sidewalk.
• Place garbage containers in cleared areas, not on snow piles.
• Clear snow and ice away from catch basins to allow water from melting snow and ice to flow freely into storm sewers.
Report a pothole
With the cold weather comes more potholes. Resients are encouraged to report them by completing a Request for Service on the City’s website at city.langley.bc.ca.
For any questions or concerns, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s been a long time since residents have faced these prolonged winter conditions.
“These are very unusual circumstances, not something that happens every year,” said Ramin Seifi, the Township’s general manager of Engineering and Community Development. “The combination of heavy snowfall and below zero temperatures have created conditions we don’t normally experience here on the West Coast. Based on historic data from Environment Canada, the region experienced about twice the amount of average snowfall, with about five degrees of colder weather than the average, going back to 1961.”
Since the snow first started falling in December, the Township has utilized all its available resources and had all crews working around the clock to maintain roads, following established protocols based on Council-approved policy that ensures major routes get cleared first and are maintained for most users for the duration of the snow event.
The Township has more than 900 kilometres of roadway. Priorities are assigned based on the type of street and the volume of traffic.
First priority roads are major collector and main arterial roads used by a large number of drivers, as well as school zones, bus routes, and hilly areas. They are serviced 24 hours a day, seven days a week, as long as poor conditions remain.
Second priorities are made up of industrial and commercial roads and secondary residential through-roads providing connection between arterial and major collector roads. These routes are serviced once conditions on first priority routes are determined to be under control. If conditions deteriorate on first priority routes, resources are redirected back to them.
The remaining local roads are third priority and are cleared last. Service is based on conditions, and if snow exceeds 10 inches at the centre line of the road, a snow plow may make a single pass.
“Normally it snows, then it rains or warms up to wash it away or melt it, but this year temperatures dropped and the snow is freezing,” said Roeland Zwaag, the Township’s director of Public Works. “Crews have been out in full force since the holidays, using salt, brine, sand, and snow plows, and utilizing all available equipment.”
The Township’s winter fleet is made up of nine large dump trucks for salting and sanding, two large brine trucks, eight small brine trucks, and three small salt and sander trucks, all of which are equipped with plows.
Brine – an anti-icing solution of salt mixed with water – is applied to bare roads before snow falls to prevent them from freezing. Brine helps the salt supply go further, and so far, the Township’s winter maintenance efforts have used up approximately 4,500 tonnes of salt and 1.8 million litres of brine.
Salt is applied after snow begins falling to address black ice and slippery conditions, and while the Township has more salt on order, it is in high demand, as the entire region is facing the same icy conditions.
On roads that are already covered in snow or ice, salt is being mixed with sand and applied to create traction, Zwaag said.
The Township spent over $1.1 million for snow removal in 2016 and is still incurring significant costs. The Township’s annual budget for winter maintenance is approximately $800,000, and that amount was requested for snow removal in the 2017 budget.
With so many people feeling the effect of such unusual weather conditions, residents are encouraged to get to know their neighbours and work together to help elderly members of the community, those with challenges including limited mobility, and others who may find it difficult to cope in these conditions. Volunteering to help clear snow from the sidewalks and walkways of those unable to do it themselves enhances safety for everyone, helps develop neighbourhood connections, and is greatly appreciated.
“With more severe winter weather expected, everyone needs to be prepared. Use caution, keep an eye out for one another, and help keep our community safe during these harsh winter conditions,” Seifi said.
The Langley RCMP is also reminding drivers and pedestrians to be careful and aware when they are out and about.
“Since we are likely to ‘enjoy’ the winter weather for a little bit longer, it is a good time to reinforce our good driving habits,” said Langley RCMP Cpl. Holly Largy. “Four-wheel drive vehicles and snow tires are definitely helpful for driving in the snow, but remember – they don’t stop any faster. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time and be aware that there may be ice under a fresh skiff of snow.”
“Drivers and pedestrians need to be hyper vigilant and mindful of each other,” she added. “Head’s up everyone: make sure you can see ‘the other guy’ and make sure ‘the other guy’ sees you. Consider wearing your brightest and loudest outerwear when walking in the Winter Wonderland – get visible.”
Residents can visit tol.ca/stormresponse for information on the Township’s Snow and Ice Control Program, winter maintenance routes, updates on garbage and recycling service delays, and a Seniors Winter Guide.
The Township also offers a Storm Response Information Hotline at 604-514-HELP (4357), which provides a voice-recorded update during extreme weather events.
For the latest updates on service levels, follow the Township on Facebook and Twitter (@LangleyTownship).