SURREY — As many are still recovering from holiday food comas and enjoying time off work, Surrey’s snow removal crew is hard at work.
More than 50 vehicles are deployed, clearing the city of snow and ice, and preparing roads for yet another forecasted snow storm on Friday.
“We’ve had our staff dealing with the snow around the clock as of Saturday,” Rob Costanzo, Surrey’s manager of engineering operations told the Now Monday morning. “First it was making sure we had enough de-icing on the roads Saturday. Then we focused on clearing snow Saturday and yesterday all day. The major routes are in great shape so we will focus today on secondary, collector routes. Once that’s complete, we’ll head back to the primary roads and we should have all that cleared by this evening.”
SCROLL DOWN FOR A MAP OF PRIORITY ROUTES
Costanzo described this winter as an “anomaly.”
“We haven’t had this type of winter since the ’08, ’09 winter,” added Costanzo. “That one it snowed steady for about three weeks… this one seems worse because it’s on and off, then into a deep freeze.”
Many local roads in Surrey are not being cleared, much to the chagrin of some locals.
Costanzo explains why that is.
“We typically don’t get this type of weather that last this long… In a typical winter we don’t deal with local roads because the weather will warm up, or it will rain, and snow will melt.”
But this year, the snow and cold weather keeps coming.
“We have been deploying staff to local roads on a priority basis. So if there’s a medical emergency type issue, or a road with grade where it’s challenges for people to get up and down, we will plow those,” said Costanzo. “We are also dealing with waste collection routes. So tomorrow, in the Newton area, if waste collection contractors have trouble on local roads then we’ll deploy trucks there.
“We are dealing with local roads this winter to the best of our ability with the resources we have,” he continued, but stressed the city is still focusing its efforts on roads with greater risk factors, such as high traffic volumes or high speeds. “We are taking calls, but we can’t promise we’ll get to every local road… We prioritize.”
Costanzo added that snow clearing on local streets can prove complicated due to on-street parking.
This “severely restricts” the operation of snow plows, he noted.
Though some colder Canadian cities restrict parking to one side of the street in winter, Surrey doesn’t, due to the disruption it would cause locals.
Snow plowing local roads also requires trucks to slow from 50 kilometres/hour to just 20 because they’re narrower, notes Surrey’s Snow and Ice Control Policy.
“It is estimated that servicing local roads would be four times more time-consuming and costly per lane km than the higher priority roads,” the policy states.
Surrey used nearly all of its $3.5 million budget for snow in 2016, said Costanzo, and is now beginning to eat into funds from the 2017 budget.
Meanwhile, city hall is getting requests from the public to clear sidewalks but Costanzo reminded residents the city doesn’t do so.
As per Surrey’s bylaw, snow clearing on sidewalks is the responsibility of the adjacent property owner.
“It’s up to the property owner,” he explained. “Pretty much every bylaw across Canada requires homeowners to do so.”
Acknowledging there has been a salt shortage, Costanzo said people can use sand in a pinch.
To reach the City of Surrey’s service request line, call 604-591-4152. It’s open Monday to Friday (excluding statutory holidays) from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. After hours, the line switches to the fire base to respond to emergencies.
See the map above, or click here for a more high-resolution image that viewers can zoom in on.
Click here for more information on the city’s snow clearing procedures.
— cdoherty13 (@cdoherty13) January 3, 2017
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