City plows hit the streets after snowfall

A big snowfall like the one Sunday night means the city plow trucks, loaders and graders were busy at work around Cranbrook.

A big snowfall like the one Sunday night means the city plow trucks, loaders and graders were busy at work around Cranbrook.

Joe McGowan noted that the city operates its snowplow equipment 24-7. With the equipment the city has, the crews can usually have most areas of the city cleared within a few days of a snowfall. That of course depends on the amount of snow and the rate it falls.

“Regardless of whether its snowing or not, we have a person on the machinery,”

McGowan said. “We adopt a priority system, so as the snow comes down we remove snow in keeping with the city’s snow removal policy and that essentially is the main arteries and those streets and roads that are used for emergency purposes, then moved down to collector streets within the community, then third priority is residential streets where there is a flat grade.”

The Priority No. 1 roads include main streets and avenues, such as Victoria Avenue, 14th Avenue, 7th Avenue and 2nd Street N and S. The Priority No. 2 roads   include roads like 1st Street South, 10th Avenue South and 3rd Street South.

Once the crews have taken care of the roadways, they move to sidewalk snow removal.

McGowan said they don’t bring in additional staff even in the event of a big snowfall like the one Sunday night.

“We operate underbelly plow trucks, several loaders, and a grader. Sidewalk snow removal consists of several converted lawnmowers that have blades.”

McGowan said it doesn’t make much of difference if there is a big snowfall to the city crews, since they will be out plowing anyhow.

“The machine doesn’t really care what it’s plowing, it’s going down the road and if it’s moving 100 mm or 20 mm, it doesn’t really matter. The technique that we use is the same, the machinery is the same and the drivers are the same. Where we experience problems is when we get 150 mm snowfalls.”

He said the reason is that at those levels, the plow is pushing more weight and so it can take a bit longer to plow.

City crews also asks that resident avoid leaving vehicles on the streets to make the snow clearing operations easier for the city crews.

The city does snow pickup in the downtown area at night in the Baker Street – 8th Avenue to 14th.

A detailed map of the snow removal priorities can be found at the city website in the Public Works section.

Watch for tomorrow’s Townsman, when Arne Petryshen reports on his ride-along in a City of Cranbrook plow truck.