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City official ‘hearing a lot’ from Edmontonians about snowy residential roads, says help coming soon

Click to play video: 'Edmonton names snow-plows, residents want them on the streets'
Edmonton names snow-plows, residents want them on the streets
As the City of Edmonton announced hilarious winning names in its first name a snow-plow contest, residents looking out their front windows are hoping they'll come down their neighbourhood roads soon — shiny new name plates and all. Sarah Ryan reports – Jan 18, 2023

Conditions have been fabulous for outdoor enthusiasts in Edmonton as the city continues to experience mild temperatures so far this winter. But with those warmer temperatures, more and more residential roads are seeing vehicles struggle to navigate through the soft snow that the city has yet to clear.

“This is definitely an area we’re hearing a lot about, and we hear you,” Mark Beare, the city’s director of infrastructure operations, told reporters at a news conference about a snow-plow naming contest. “Next week, once the temperatures drop, we’ll be grooming residential neighbourhoods.”

Beare reiterated what the city said during a snow-removal update last week, saying that blading residential roads at current temperatures would simply create more problems than it would solve.

“Right now, the heavy vehicles loaded down are going to create ruts, and they’re going to push the snow off to the side and they’re going to create windrows,” he said. “That was something we experienced last year with a lot of negative feedback… people losing their parking.

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“(Waiting for colder weather before blading residential roads) will minimize the ruts and minimize the windrows.”

READ MORE: City has plans to groom Edmonton residential roads as ‘conditions have deteriorated’ due to weather

While the city waits to address residential roads, some municipalities near Edmonton have already started, despite the warmer weather. Strathcona County began clearing snow from residential roads on Jan. 8.

“Programs are a different scale,” Beare said when asked why the City of Edmonton did not plan to clear residential roads at the same time. He noted Edmonton has a much larger number of roads to clear and that “service standards in those municipalities are to blade to bare pavement and to remove the snow, and that’s not the service standard in Edmonton.”

Beare noted city crews have already been clearing residential alleyways and continue to work “24-7” on keeping roads clear. They are currently focusing on clearing windrows.

When asked what temperature is needed for crews to begin clearing residential roads, Beare said “it’s not an exact number” but suggested a prolonged period of -5 C or lower would be ideal. He added that if the temperatures do not sufficiently drop in the coming days and weeks, the city has a backup plan to address snow removal on residential roads but did not elaborate.

“Edmontonians care a lot about their snow removal,” Beare acknowledged. “We’re doing the best job that we can within our service standards.”

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He added that the reason for not yet clearing residential roads is not related to a lack of resources.

Click to play video: 'City of Edmonton promises better snow clearing this winter'
City of Edmonton promises better snow clearing this winter

In the fall, the city outlined its plans for snow removal this winter, noting city council had approved additional funding for the service to make it possible for more equipment on roads to clear areas more quickly following a snowfall.

READ MORE: City of Edmonton says more equipment, better service coming to snow removal this season

The city noted at the time that crews will not plow down to bare pavement in residential areas this season and would instead focus on reducing the size of windrows in residential areas, as well as blocked catch basins, both of which were problems in Edmonton last season.

City’s plow-naming contest generates ‘overwhelming’ response from Edmontonians

Beare answered snow-clearing questions at a news conference to unveil this year’s winners of the City of Edmonton’s snow plow-naming contest.

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“We appreciate the incredible enthusiasm and the creative entries we received,” Beare said, noting the city received an “overwhelming” response of about 2,100 entries, prompting the city to give new names to 15 plows as opposed to five, which was the original plan.

The plow names ranged from Edmonton-inspired monikers like “Amarsleet Snowhi” and “Connor McBlade-It” to aliases that give a nod to pop culture, like “The Big Leplowski” and “Mr. Plow.”

You can view the plows and their new names in the photos below.

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