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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Calgary's Director of Roads talks snow and ice on city streets

EDITED: 4:30 p.m., October 15

What’s going on with snow, ice and our Roads?

We chatted with Ryan Jestin, Director of Roads about the snow, ice and our Roads over the past few days.

On Tuesday, during the morning commute as most of Calgary headed out for their post-Thanksgiving trip to work or school, a rather unexpected, moist snow was falling - and sticking to the road – an unexpected occurrence at this time of year. This created “almost the perfect storm for city crews.”

Road crews began sanding city streets at around 4 a.m. but when rush hour began, snow clearing efforts had to slow down. Once the morning rush was completed, city crews were able to get back on the roads. They cleared 3,500 lane kilometres of road way in about 5 hours.

The problem, said Jestin, is that anti-icing trucks, sanders and graders aren’t very effective during rush-hour when roads are carrying commuters. In fact, there are about 350,000 vehicles on the roads between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. every day.

“Calgary Roads does a great job, but this has to be a shared responsibility,” he said. “Drivers can’t behave like its dry pavement. They have to be patient, leave time to stop and leave space between themselves and the car ahead.”

And of course, it’s essential to get proper snow tires.

Jestin also said that although Deerfoot Trail clean-up is the Province's responsibility, The City has regular contact with The Government of Alberta's road-clearing contracter to ensure off-ramps are cleared simultaneously.

"However, if there's an accident in the early morning it will back everything up," he said.

Some parts of Calgary had received almost 10 centimetres of snow by noon Wednesday – the same amount of snow that usually hits the city the entire month of October.

Watch this video of Roads Maintenance Manager, Dean Bell, talking about snow and ice removal priorities from a few weeks ago.

Dean Bell talks about Snow and Ice on Calgary Roads from The City of Calgary on Vimeo.

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