© Guardian photo by Heather Taweel
A plow clears snow along the Victoria Park boardwalk in Charlottetown on Tuesday, April 1.
MLA Sonny Gallant says some constituents asking why their roads not cleared sooner
Government house leader Sonny Gallant says he’s hearing from his constituents in Evangeline-Miscouche when it comes to snow on the roads.
So, Gallant rose in the legislative assembly on Thursday looking for answers during question period.
“I want to praise the plow operators because we have had a rough winter,’’ Gallant told The Guardian following question period.
“That being said, I’ve had some calls from constituents who felt their road could have been opened sooner.’’
Gallant said it really raised the ire of his constituents when they saw quite a bit of snow on their own roads only to see that others had been cleared.
Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Robert Vessey said he knows people are complaining about the level of service.
Vessey said the province changed the way it delivers that service a couple of years ago, giving the routes with the highest traffic volume priority.
The levels of service place roads on P.E.I. into four categories — from A through D, with class A being roads such as Route 1, 1A and Route 2.
For class A highways, plowing begins when snow has reached a depth of 2.5 centimetres.
The goal is also to salt the surface to achieve bare pavement.
For class B highways (the collectors), such as Kinkora Road, the snow depth is also 2.5 centimetres for plowing to begin.
The centre of the roads are sanded as required to achieve bare travel lanes.
With secondary roads, the snow depth is six centimetres for plowing.
“We get 80 per cent of our traffic on 20 per cent of our roads, on the Trans-Canada, Route 1 and Route 2, 3 and 4 we’ve got provincial plows on those highways because they carry the capacity,’’ Vessey said.
“We’ve since handed the contractors who may have had some of those routes back
to the secondary and some of the collectors.’’
Vessey stressed that while government policy sets out parameters at which plowing must occur, often the plows are out before the snow gets that deep.
He said the same criteria is used around the Maritimes.
Gallant said he understands there are different classifications for different roads.
“That being said, people still need to get to work and get home after work,’’ the government house leader said.
Vessey said it’s been a challenging winter for everyone.
“Our plow operators and local contractors worked very, very hard this winter and did a tremendous job in one of the worst winters we have had in 40 to 42 years.’’
The minister added that the province also uses ‘road checkers’ and has GPS trackers in all of its plows to monitor where the plows are and where they’ve been.