The ‘draft’ snow and ice control map with updated priorities for Chilliwack roads. (City of Chilliwack)

The ‘draft’ snow and ice control map with updated priorities for Chilliwack roads. (City of Chilliwack)

Dozens of Chilliwack roads could get upgraded for snow removal

But side streets mostly remain as priority 4, rarely if ever plowed based on resources available

Dozens of roads have been earmarked for upgraded priority in terms of snow and ice removal.

Council will be voting on the recommendations at the Tuesday council meeting.

Ahead of any snowstorms coming this winter, several new roads have been prioritized for the first time, while others are being upgraded to a higher priority — based on last winter’s operational experiences.

Curious about what priority your road has been given? Check it out here.

The current map on the City of Chilliwack website, depicts the five categories of road priorities, and is available for any residents who want to review theirs.

But city staff does an annual review of snow removal operations, and as a result, “several roads have been identified for an increase in service level priority,” and the map will be updated subsequently, if approved by council, according to the staff report.

“The changes will improve overall service to residential areas, as well as improving service to a few roads which have seniors’ residences and health care facilities on them,” according to the staff report.

READ MORE: Crews had their hands full in February 2019

Examples of the staff recommended changes include upgrading a few roads on Fairfield Island (Sections of Young Road, Brinx, McDonald, Brice, Kent) from Priority 2 to Priority 1.

Here’s a primer on the Snow and Ice Control priority categories:

Priority 1:High volume and strategic arterial and collector roads, major access roads

to hillside areas, access roads to fire stations, ambulance stations, police

stations and CGH.

Priority 2: All remaining arterial, hillside areas and collector routes not including

Priority 2A.

Priority 2A: Specified gravel roads in hillside areas.

Priority 3: Specified local roads of significance within residential areas on the valley

floor. These roads act as local collectors for residential traffic accessing

these roads from priority 4 routes.

Priority 4: Remaining local/residential roads on the valley floor. Snow and ice

control operations may be carried out on a limited number of priority 4

roads subject to the availability of resources and at the discretion of the Director

When the Priority 1 and 2 roads are cleared enough for safety, crews respond next to Priority 3, which are the local connector roads and local roads of significance.

Priority 4 roads, which are the residential or “local” streets on the valley floor, only ever get plowed when everything else is safely passable, and resources can be freed up to respond.

Here is what city officials said in 2019 after a snowstorm about the chances of seeing a local street plowed: “Snow and ice control will not be carried out on local/residential roads unless resources are available and this is at the discretion of the Director of Operations, or designate.”

Chilliwack is one of the few Lower Mainland municipalities that actually will sometimes be able to dispatch equipment to plow residential roads, whereas most, about 70 per cent, do not ever clear them, according to city staff. If they are plowed, it will be a single-lane width.

READ MORE: First snowstorm of 2020 arrived just before mid-January

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Plow equipment clearing the roads on Dec. 13, 2016 focused on Priority 1 and 2 roads. (City of Chilliwack)

Plow equipment clearing the roads on Dec. 13, 2016 focused on Priority 1 and 2 roads. (City of Chilliwack)