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Edmonton to unveil massive policy change to snow clearing

Snow plow clearing snow downtown Edmonton Friday, Nov. 28, 2014. Vinesh Pratap, Global News

Nothing says Canada, leading up to Canada Day, than Edmonton considering a brand new policy for snow removal.

Frustrated motorists will see the results in the coming months of the city testing out a whole new method of winter driving later this year.

A report heading to next week’s Community and Public Services Committee details city plans to test new technology this fall, winter and next spring.

“We’re looking at a new program,” confirmed deputy city manager for operations Doug Jones. He said it’ll be tested over the 2017-18 winter then, by the following year, will be ready for a roll out city wide.

READ MORE: City of Edmonton takes advantage of cold snap to test new snow-clearing approach on roads

“In advance of any storm, we’ll spray a road with a brine solution,” he said. “It could be a salt solution like a rocksalt, which is sodium chloride, or it could be a calcium chloride solution and what that does is, it prevents the snow from bonding to the road.”

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It’s similar to what’s done in other cities, and by the company that handles the Anthony Henday on behalf of the province.

“It melts snow when it contacts the road. So in a lot of cases, if you don’t get a lot of snow you don’t have to plough.”

Jones said they can’t do the work city-wide yet, because more equipment is on order.

Not only will roads be sprayed, walking paths in parks will as well. The city wants to improve active transportation, especially for walking trails, to give seniors a better chance at getting out and able to get around.

“What we’re looking at is how we administer our snow and ice control in parks where there are pathways or walkways, and try to do a more consistent job that allows all of the pathways in a park to be cleared as opposed to just specific ones,” Gord Cebryk the city’s branch manager for traffic operations said.

READ MORE: Blowing snow, cold temperatures make for slippery Edmonton commute

The change will impact active transportation, especially for walking trails to give seniors a better chance at getting out and able to get around.

The city is also proposing a parking ban for residential blading.

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City staff will also mark the pavement with an indicator to point out where catch basins are located to the side at the curb, so if they get iced in, crews will know where they are to dig them out, to help melted snow and ice to run off.

The council committee will debate the report on July 6, before it goes to the full city council the following week.