October 25th, 2020

City ready for any winter whallop


By Woodard, Dale on October 17, 2020.

A snow plow makes its way down Scenic Drive South last winter. The City says its snow crews are ready to mobilize with snow in this weekend's forecast. Herald file photo by Ian Martens @IMartensHerald

Dale Woodard

Lethbridge Herald

Old Man Winter is ready to make his presence known in southern Alberta and the City of Lethbridge is mobilizing the troops in response.

When they’re not fending off the white stuff – some of which is forecast for this weekend – they’re also reminding motorists to travel safe, be prepared and stay on top of road conditions or snow removal routs.

“Winter is here and we know in Alberta it can change quite quickly and we need to make sure we’re staying on top of that from an individual perspective,” said Luke Palmer director of emergency management for the City of Lethbridge. “We want to make sure people are checking credible government sources for travel advisories that may be present this weekend. A good example is the Alberta 511 application or website. Additionally, we want to make sure people are checking on their vehicle emergency kits and ensuring that it’s available for a wide variety of scenarios.

“You could be stranded for a short while or long term and we want to make sure people are prepared to make sure they can take care of themselves and ultimately in a COVID-19 environment that might mean changing what you have in those emergency kits. So it’s a really good time to check out http://www.Lethbridge.ca.

“We have some information on there for household emergency kits as well as vehicle kits for people to check.”

The precautions aren’t limited to the streets.

“Household emergency kits are also vital,” said Palmer. “You might have a situation where temperatures are quickly dropping or there’s a substantial amount of snow. The power might go and as a city we will activate certain resources with our emergency social services team, but it does take time to build those up and people need to take care of themselves before we can get that extra assistance their way.”

During a snowfall event, initial sanding, salting and snow plowing efforts will focus on Priority 1 routes, those being the busiest arterial roads throughout the city including Whoop-Up Drive, Mayor Magrath Drive and Scenic Drive.

The City typically does not plow residential roads unless they’re impassible for emergency vehicles and the public with properly equipped vehicles. All sanding, snow removal and snow plowing routes are available at http://www.lethbridge.ca/WinterRoads.

Joining the usual winter hazards of snow, cold and ice is the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, Adam Campbell, Transportation Operations manager for the City of Lethbridge, said his staff have the protocols in place to deal with any illness.

“We’ve split up our crews so in the event that one crew goes down another is available. We’ve started cross training people from other departments in the unlikely event the worst-case situation happens and everyone goes down. It’s a little easier for transportation in the winter time because in the summer there’s more of us and we work in crews. But in the winter and it’s one person driving a truck they can actually stay separated from everybody else and sanitize their work areas affectively. We can provide a safe, steady environment for everyone in the winter.”

On the equipment front, Campbell said his crew is good to go.

“We’re just asking people to check out the snow route maps at the City of Lethbridge page. There are some maps that show our priorities when we’re out plowing as well as the priorities for snow removal and the snow route maps.”

The proper piling of snow in front of residences is a topic that comes up each winter, with some people pushing excess snow onto the street.

“It can really impede parking and when it comes time to melt, it blocks drainage and creates ice and hazards everywhere,” said Campbell. “We ask it every year and most people are pretty good, but we ask that everybody try to push it back onto their property as much as possible.

More information on the City’s Snow and Ice Control program is available online at http://www.lethbridge.ca/WinterRoads.

Follow @DWoodardHerald on Twitter

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