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Calgary’s snow-covered streets slow commute, contribute to crashes

Dozens of crashes on Calgary’s snow-covered streets
Snow-covered streets contributed to a number of crashes throughout Calgary on Nov. 5 and 6, 2019. Doug Vaessen has details on some of the slickest spots.

Snow-covered streets made for a slow commute to work for thousands of Calgarians on Wednesday.

Chris McGeachy, spokesman for the City of Calgary’s roads department, said crews started laying down anti-icing material on major roads on Tuesday when the snow began to fall.

As part of the city’s seven-day snow and ice control plan, crews start to plow, salt and sand so-called Priority 1 routes first.

“Those are the routes that carry over 20,000 vehicles a day, including Memorial Drive, Crowchild Trail [and] Glenmore Trail,” McGeachy explained.
Calgary snow clearing update for Nov. 6
Calgary snow clearing update for Nov. 6

Once Priority 1 routes are completed, crews focus on Priority 2 routes — roads that carry 5,000 to 19,999 vehicles a day — like Kensington Road and Acadia Drive.

Crews then turn to clearing Priority 3 and 4 routes, which include residential areas and school and playground zones.

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However, if snow falls, the process must then start again at the beginning.

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On Wednesday morning, McGeachy said major routes looked “pretty clear” but noted that ice can still be present.

“We do lay down material to prevent it from building up, but that ice can be present on the roadway,” he said.

McGeachy said there may be icy spots on bridge decks, on-off ramps and at intersections.

“We do get to the on-off ramps later so we do advise people — especially before the sun comes up — there may be some slippery conditions on those on-off ramps,” McGeachy said.

Slow down, move over: Tow truck operators ask Alberta drivers to consider their safety
Slow down, move over: Tow truck operators ask Alberta drivers to consider their safety

READ MORE: The future of snow clearing? Robotic snow-removal machines on display in Calgary

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McGeachy warned motorists to leave plenty of time to get to their destination and plenty of space between their vehicle and the one in front of them.

The City of Calgary has a snow removal budget of just under $40 million between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31.

At the start of October, McGeachy said the city was still within that budget for 2019 with just under $15 million remaining until the end of the year.

Amid the snowy weather, the Calgary International Airport also warned travellers to give themselves extra time when heading to the airport.

Calgary police respond to hundreds of crashes amid winter driving conditions

According to Calgary police, a total of 226 crashes were reported between midnight on Tuesday and 4 a.m. on Wednesday, including 19 involving injuries.

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Of those, 42 were reported as hit-and-run crashes.

When will Calgary see more snow?

Global News meteorologist Jordan Witzel said Calgary saw approximately five centimetres of snow accumulate.

Some of that snow is expected to melt on Thursday with chinook-like conditions that will prompt temperatures to rise to a forecasted high of 6 C.

However, Witzel said, Calgary can expect more snow on Saturday with another five centimetres in the forecast.

Want your weather on the go? Download Global News’ Skytracker weather app for iPhone, iPad and Android.

How to sign up for snow route parking ban notifications

Although the most recent snowfall isn’t enough that the City of Calgary anticipates it will call a snow route parking ban, drivers may still want to sign up to receive alerts so they will know if one is put in place.

The City of Calgary announced in mid-October that its snow route parking ban notifications would be moved to the existing myID system, which is already used for street sweeping notifications.

If you sign up, you can choose to receive text or email notifications about when a snow route parking ban will be in effect and when it has been lifted.

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