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New Brunswick road crews continue to clear cities, highways in wake of winter storm

Tue., Jan. 22: Cleanup from Sunday's storm continues to be a struggle for road crews across the province. In cities like Moncton and Saint John, a thick layer of ice still blankets many roadways. As Shelley Steeves reports, it's been difficult to get around.

New Brunswick is continuing to dig itself out after Sunday’s winter storm.

On the province’s highways, city and provincial crews are hard at work chipping away at the ice and snow that cover swathes of New Brunswick — and it may be a few more days before things are back to normal.

READ MORE: Winter storm brings snow, rain, wind and cold to New Brunswick

Members of the 37 Combat Engineer Regiment spent much of the day clearing snow off Fredericton sidewalks.

“The city usually cleans it, but right now we’re just taking it upon ourselves because we are so overwhelmed and they are so overwhelmed with all of the snow that we have gotten over the past few days,” said one of the soldiers, Nathan Charron.

Road maintenance crews have been struggling to clear so-called “armour ice” that is packed on many roads and highways.

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“Armour ice is when the ice has a really firm bond to the asphalt and you cannot scrape it off,” said Jeff Scott, general foreman for Moncton Public Works.

WATCH: Winter storm leaves New Brunswick highways a mess

Winter storm leaves New Brunswick highways a mess
Winter storm leaves New Brunswick highways a mess

Scott acknowledged that residents are frustrated with the state of the roads but says the thick, packed armour ice is nearly impossible to clear when temperatures are below -12 C since road salt does not work well at colder temperatures.

Commercial snow removal contractor Josh Cormier said he can sympathize with the city’s struggles, noting that it’s been a rough few days.

“It’s a lot of work. It is hard on the gear, and plowing and plows are fetching up in the ice and you have to stay at it. If you don’t, you are not going to get ahead of it,” he said.

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Until the weather warms up — which it is scheduled to do later this week — Cormier and Scott say their only option is to spread sand on roadways and hope that it will give drivers some traction.

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But the overloaded and backlogged services throughout the province have led to less-than-ideal driving conditions for many.

Trucker Patrick Mason spent three hours on the Trans-Canada Highway on Tuesday, white-knuckling his way between Fredericton and Moncton.

“I was going slow,” he said. “But I went right through [an] intersection.”

WATCH: Global News coverage on New Brunswick winter storm

As conditions slowly improve, road crews are suggesting motorists slow down and drive safely. Although roads appear to be clear, they’re still slippery as police and tow trucks are still responding to vehicles that have slid into ditches across the province.

“As crews work on these highways, it’s going to take maybe a few days to get them fully opened up and up to perfect condition that people expect,” said Ahmed Dassouki, a spokesperson with New Brunswick’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure.

Follow the province’s official Twitter account, @NewBrunswick511, for up-to-date information on road conditions.

—With files from Megan Yamoah

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