Fluctuating temperatures in Kingston create icy, dangerous sidewalks

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Many Kingstonians speak out after trekking over icy sidewalks, but the maintenance team at KGH and Hotel Dieu have a solution – Jan 24, 2019

The conditions were right this week to turn sidewalks in the Limestone City into a winter version of the slip-and-slide.

READ MORE: Saint John child suffers nasty fall on icy sidewalk on the way to school

On Thursday, Global News spoke to several Kingstonians walking on the road to avoid sidewalks because many of them were covered in ice. Each said they had to turn their clocks backwards the night prior to give them plenty of time to get to work.

“Obviously, it is not particularly easy to get through this because of the snow and slush covering the ice, making it so difficult to get through,” said Kathleen Harrison, a Queens University student who walks nearly a kilometre to and from school.

READ MORE: Icy sidewalks prompt complaints, councillor to reopen debate on clearing snow

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Icy concrete is non-existent for Kingston General Hospital (KGH) and Hotel Dieu patients and visitors because they have installed a system that heats the pavement from below.

The KGH emergency ramp that faces Lake Ontario is heated with pipes which are pumped with warm anti-freeze, snaked throughout the concrete.

Ted Splinter manages the heating system from beneath the ramp and says the system is turned on once the weather drops in the fall and stays on until the weather warms. Meanwhile, the system for clearing sidewalks following a winter storm is in full effect for the City of Kingston.

According to the City’s website, “residential sidewalks and walkways, that can be cleared with mechanized equipment, are to be safe and passable within 48 hours after the snowfall ends when possible.”

READ MORE: Montreal short on workers during rush to clear roads before another freeze

The emergency departments at KGH and Hotel Dieu told Global News that there have been around 20 people treated for weather-related injuries such as broken bones and sprains on Thursday.

The seven-day forecast for Kingston is setting up to be another challenging stretch as more snow and flurries are expected.