City crews plow into winter big time this week
Saskatoon is in full winter mode. Almost 3 centimetres of snow fell Sunday and Monday, temperatures have dropped, and people are re-learning how to navigate winter driving conditions. Almost as instantly, City road maintenance operations switched from street sweeping and pothole patching to plowing and sanding.
“City crews work seven days a week, prepared for whatever weather heads our way,” says Brandon Harris, Director of Roadways & Operations. “When it snows, we have up to 29 sanders, 16 graders and 14 plows focussed on keeping high-traffic roads in good winter driving condition.”
Additional resources and P3 contractors are also all ready to keep the new infrastructure clear this winter. With two bridges, including the extension of Central Avenue and McOrmond Drive and two interchanges, more than 21 kilometres of new roadway was opened up this summer to traffic.
Once the snow stops falling, graders clear the driving lanes on priority 1, 2 and 3 streets and in school zones, windrows of snow are removed in Business Improvement Districts, and specialized equipment is used to clear dedicated bike lanes and high-traffic walkways. Snow windrows are removed periodically through winter to prevent visibility issues for drivers and sidewalk users.
“Each year, we push ourselves to find a better way or test a product that makes managing snow and fighting ice smoother and faster,” says Harris. “This year we’re following Switzerland’s lead and testing wood chips to improve traction on ice. We’ve also improved our technique for keeping bridge decks and overpasses clear of any snow build-up.”
As City operations work to prevent icing, improve traction and clear snow, drivers have to play a leading role in their own safety by adjusting driving habits in winter. Important safety habits include clearing snow from all windows, leaving extra distance between you and the car in front, and reducing your speed. Find more winter driving and safety tips at saskatoon.ca/winterdriving.
“The people operating the road equipment are important. They are colleagues, family and friends to someone – maybe someone you know,” says Harris. “Please slow down when you see their flashing blue lights and let them do their job.”
Snow What to Do this winter by visiting saskatoon.ca/snow. During a snow event (5 centimetres or more snow fall), find timely updates at saskatoon.ca/service-alerts and follow @YXEServiceAlert on Twitter.