Charlottetown's snow-clearing crews rest up for next winter blast

Dave Stewart
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A City of Charlottetown snow plow clears the sidewalk on Water Street Monday.

Charlottetown’s snow-clearing crews were resting up Tuesday in anticipation of the next blast of winter.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Environment Canada was calling for 20 to 30 centimetres of snow Wednesday.

Coun. Terry Bernard, chairman of the public works committee, said the city also expects to spend, by Wednesday, all the money it budgeted for snow clearing in 2013.

The city budgeted $2,036,000 for snow-clearing this year, up from $1.8 million it set in 2012. Therefore, any snow that has to be removed between Wednesday and Dec. 31 will come out of the 2014 budget.

“We’re close to hitting the (2013) figure,’’ Bernard said. “If we get this storm (today) we will hit that figure.’’

The public works department also reports that it suffered some equipment breakdowns since the snowstorm on Sunday. That includes the major blowers that clean the streets and equipment designed to clear the sidewalks.

“When the equipment has been sitting all summer you’re going to get your breakdowns, things that are hard to identify, such as hydraulic hoses and stuff like that. They break because (equipment hasn’t) been used for heavy loads.’’

Bernard said it wasn't just the city's equipemt that was breaking down, problems arose with the machinery used by private contractors as well. The city contracts out for the amalgamated areas.

“It slows down our progress by 50 per cent. We were down three (sidewalk) units at one time; had to wait for parts to come in. Contractors were also down a couple of units. My understanding is, now, parts are in and things are all fixed up.’’

That said, Bernard said public works did the best it could after the city received more than 20 centimetres on Sunday.

The priority is schools and school zones and to clear streets. Once the parking ban goes into effect at 1 a.m., crews pull the snow out into the centre of the street so the blowers can transfer the snow into trucks. The snow is then taken to the provincial government’s salt depot, located just past the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Once the snow melts, crews go in to remove any garbage that accumulated over the winter.

Bernard added there are still areas of the city crews didn’t get to ahead of the expected storm on Wednesday. The city did manage to clear Queen Street and University Avenue; areas south of Euston Street; Prince Street, from Kent to Grafton streets; and sections of Kent, Pownal, Hillsborough and Grafton streets.

Crews will be back on the roads when conditions permit after Wednesday's forecasted storm lets up.

dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca

https://Twitter.com/DveStewart

 

 

Organizations: Environment Canada, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Twitter.com/DveStewart

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Kent, Queen Street Euston Street Prince Street Hillsborough

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