The City of Wetaskiwin’s Winter Street Maintenance bylaw splits the city into three priority sections for snow plowing and snow removal services.
The three-year-old policy is available on the city’s website and Facebook page.
Priority one for the city is main highways and other highly utilized routes (Location A on the map). Under the policy, priority one routes are to be plowed within 24 hours, and five centimeters of snow triggers plowing services.
Priority two routes (Location B on the map) are targeted to be plowed within 72 hours of the snowfall and is also set at five centimeters.
Priority three routes in the city (Location C on the map) are cul-de-sac sites. Plowing is triggered by 20 centimeters of snow accumulation and the target is to plow within 168 hours.
City of Wetaskiwin director of engineering and development Sue Howard says plows move into residential neighborhoods at a 20-centimeter snow pack. She added — in a Feb. 23 interview with the Pipestone Flyer — the city is nearing that number and plows could be servicing residential streets within the next couple of weeks.
Under the snow removal section of the policy, windrowing (the plowing of snow into a long continuous pile for storage or to facilitate removal) of priority one routes should occur within 48 hours; windrowing of priority two routes within 72 hours; priority three routes within 96 hours and a 10-centimeter snow accumulation. Residential maintenance is triggered upon direction of city administration, with a minimum of 20 centimeters of compacted snow. One residential cleaning, curb to curb to bare pavement, will be completed per winter season.
Howard, and public works manager Byron Olson, say two of the main challenges the city faces with winter road maintenance is residents who park in restricted areas during plowing, and making people feel content with notification services.
Olson says on the city’s home page there is a “Notify Me” tab which will direct residents to sign up for the city’s free notification service.
“There’s a lot of problems we run into with snow plowing when cars are parked on the street,” said Howard.
Seasonal parking bans provide clear paths for the plows to collect as much snow as possible and also lessens liability issues the city faces.
Howard says the restricted parking system is only a year old in the city, and the number of warnings given this year from last year has dropped. There is hope the trend continues as more people get in line with the program.
Olson says when snow plows clear residential neighborhoods there is also a focus on clearing back alleys so people can move their vehicles off the streets. “Gives them better access to the backside of their property.”
The city is also using Bluetooth information signs along with the orange curbside signs to increase communication of when parking bans will be in effect.
Wetaskiwin’s Winter Street Maintenance policy is under review. Administration is finalizing service options to present to council, which is likely to see a draft in March or shortly thereafter, says Howard.
“We’re going to look at different operating procedures … to streamline the budget,” said Olson.
Olson says council could feed more funds to winter maintenance services but budgeting constraints are always an issue. He added funding could be reduced, but that could also reduce services.
“The snow clearing level of service in the City of Wetaskiwin is the best in the capital region,” said Howard.