As of noon today, Windsor will have spent about a half-million dollars on snow removal since the white stuff began falling on New Years Eve.
So much snow has fallen and continues to fall on Windsor, that the city has brought in extra contracted crews for an early start on plowing residential roads.
Have patience, the city is advising, but all city roads should see a municipal plow by Friday afternoon, according to city maintenance manager Pete Matheson.
Asked how much had fallen since Tuesday, Matheson responded: Too much.
More than 20 cm of snow was expected by noon today, but windy conditions has caused drifting, which has had the added effect of quickly undoing any progress made by the plows. Matheson said by the time crews have completed some of the main routes, they have to get right back at them, with new snowfall having undone the previous work.
Adding to the grief is the cold temperature hovering around -11 Celsius by mid-morning which is largely killing the effectiveness of any road salting, said Matheson. He said the salt is still being applied he expects about 4,000 tonnes on city streets by the time the current storm has ended with the hope that traffic and friction will provide sufficient warmth to make a difference.
Up to 80 staff half of them city workers, the rest contracted have been providing an around-the-clock snow clearing schedule on Windsors main streets, using about 26 plows and other vehicles.
As of 10 a.m., Matheson said 23 additional pieces of equipment operated by private contractors have begun being deployed on residential streets. With the snowfall expected to end this afternoon, the citys plows will also focus on residential roads later today, he added.
Clearing just the main routes, which began Tuesday night, costs about $12,000 an hour. Matheson said he doesn't know yet how much the city spent on snow clearing in 2013: We were still spending it at midnight Dec. 31.
Windsors approved annual snow removal budget is about $3.5 million, but Matheson describes that as a guideline and that the priority is keeping the roads clear. Safety is always first, he said.
City officials are urging motorists to slow down, be patient and cautious, and to think twice before passing slower-moving plow vehicles.
Wherever possible, remove vehicles from streets.
Residents are reminded to shovel sidewalks abutting their properties. Enforcement of Windsors sidewalk clearing bylaw begins once residential street plowing is completed.
Matheson also said its regrettable but inevitable that, as plows proceed down residential roads, driveways can become blocked again with a wall of plowed snow.
Under city and provincial legislation, its also against the law to shovel snow from sidewalks and driveways into the streets, as it creates unsafe road conditions for motorists.
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