Lethbridge city crews have been working around the clock in 12-hour shifts to stay on top of clearing the snowy streets since the beginning of Wednesday’s storm.
The focus was on priority one routes until flakes stopped flying late Thursday evening.
“When it’s snowing constantly, we can’t really get ahead and we’ve got our priorities that we have to get done,” equipment operator Ricky Andreas said.
“So you finish your run of priority ones and if it’s still snowing, you just have to start all over again.”
Now that the snow has stopped, crews are playing catch up.
Priority one routes are major city arteries that include Whoop-Up, University, Scenic and Mayor Magrath drives.
Clearing of the Crowsnest falls under provincial jurisdiction.
Priorities two, three and four are other city streets which cannot be tended to until priority one routes are completely clear.
With 14 vehicles equipped to plow — and two graders — operators like Andreas barely get a break during major snowfall periods.
“It gets busy,” Andreas said. “Motorists don’t really give us much space.”
Andreas also says he has heard and read plenty of comments online from frustrated commuters.
“I wish they knew we were out here, working,” he said.
“People say, ‘Oh, I haven’t seen a plow all day.’ You see that a lot [online] and you’re like, ‘Well, we’ve been working for three days straight, 24 hours.'”
Andreas says it hasn’t taken the joy out of the work for him, though.
“It’s kind of exciting,” he said.
“Just getting up some speed and plowing stuff off the roads. It makes you feel good knowing you helped everyone get to work that day.”
“We’re actually working hard. We do care about what we do. We’re just trying to make the roads safe for everyone.”
Andreas and the rest of the team will continue their 12-hour around-the-clock shifts until all major routes are clear.