Crews busy with snow

Heavy snowfall in recent weeks has kept municipal workers busy clearing the streets.

Heavy snowfall in recent weeks has kept municipal workers busy clearing the streets.

Don Darling, director of public works for the municipality, said crews have put in more than 300 hours of overtime since the beginning of December to deal with the excess snow this winter.

“It’s been a big task for them,” he said. “This is a unique snowfall season and they’re doing the best they can to keep up.”

Summerland has four plough trucks to clear and sand more than 500 lane-kilometres of road. Each section of the municipality takes around eight hours to clear and sand.

“If it starts snowing again, we have to start all over again,” he added.

Bus routes, collector roads and steep roads are cleared first, while flat residential areas are a much lower priority.

In the downtown core, crews are out early in the morning after more than 7.5 centimetres has accumulated. The downtown remains a lower priority than other roads, since road clearing is not as much of a safety issue there.

Sidewalks in front of municipal land are also cleared.

Darling said the snow clearing work is difficult, especially on some of the steeper streets. On some roads, he said, drivers must back down the road to sand it. If they attempt to go forward and sand behind them, the unsanded roads are too slippery.

Contractors are hired to clear the municipality’s parking lots, but Darling said few have the equipment needed for road clearing.

Putting more municipal staff to snow clearing is also difficult since there are other areas where public works staff are needed in addition to road maintenance.