With the temperatures still hovering below -30 Celcius, snow plowing crews in Grande Prairie continue to wait on Mother Nature to lend a hand before they’re able to get back into full gear.
“The equipment works slower, the hydraulics work slower and it just a real pain to try and do it at these temperatures…usually when it gets to be below minus 30 we usually curtail it until the temperatures warm up,” says city Transportation Manager Robert Carroll.
Carroll says he understands the frustration felt by residents who have to also sit on their hands and wait as the compact snow continues to make drives in residential neighbourhoods a bit tricky. However, he adds that with safety, and the long term use of the equipment top of mind, the city can’t risk either to do a half complete job.
“The problem we are having right now in the residential areas is it’s just too cold, and residential areas are of course a whole lot tighter to move big equipment around, it’s icy and it gets a little bit dangerous.”
He adds the main roads are also a problem they have to keep on top of and are doing the best they can despite the circumstances.
“We are mainly into a sanding mode because the snow is so hard that the plows don’t have the down pressure you need to cut it. A grader will still cut it, so our graders are doing some work on the main roads.. and once things warm up we will be able to plow again.”
On the financial side of snow plowing, the city says despite a heavy dump or two of snow in late 2019, the budget for residential removal has reset, with $750,000 still available for use this year.
“In a fiscal year, we do three residential rotations, and each of those is estimated at $250,000. It’ll be our first, as we are in a new year now,” says Chief Financial Officer Danielle Whiteway.
With temperatures expected to return to a more respectable level over the weekend, Carroll says they hope to get things fully up and running by Monday.