Snowplow crew members in Chilliwack are looking a little worse for wear after days of 12-hour shifts.
City of Chilliwack snowplows and sanding trucks have been working around the clock since last Friday morning when the first snowflakes touched down.
All of the city equipment is still out there 24 hours a day, according to City of Chilliwack Operations officials.
Chilliwack has at its disposal 15 snow plows/sanding trucks, six backhoes, four graders and a variety of smaller plowing trucks.
By Monday afternoon most of the major routes were cleared right down to the blacktop.
Some residents who live on “local” roads, which do not get plowed if there is still snow on priority roads, have been complaining to city hall and asking when their road might get some attention.
The focus, as always, in Chilliwack is clearing the main arterials, collectors and hillside roads.
The Snow and Ice control budget is at $1.1 million for 2016, and city officials try to make it clear every year that they simply do not have the resources to clear local roads, only the priority routes, which are the arterials, collectors, and hillside roads.
That is a continual process in itself usually.
There is a link on the city website’s Snow and Ice control program page, called ‘What priority is my road?’ to show where the main focus will remain.
Overall city officials say they’ve received more compliments than complaints as a general rule, and several kind citizens have dropped off boxes of doughnuts for operations crews to show their appreciation since the winter blast hit.
This week crews are battling strong east winds which have picked up and are causing major snow drifts across Chilliwack’s north/south corridors, like Annis, Prest, Evans and Lickman Roads.
Of these high-traffic collector roads, Prest Road is seeing some of the worst snow drifts, which are being cleared every 30 minutes for safety reasons.
Public works crews have gone through more than 2,000 tonnes of road salt since last week. Trucks are delivering road salt every day, because they don’t have much storage room at the operations yard.
Managing the salt stores is a 24-hour effort as well. The road salt is trucked to Chilliwack from Vancouver, which was especially tricky on Sunday when Highway 1 was shut down several times, and stores ran low in Chilliwack.
Getting residents to clear sidewalks in front of their properties has also been a bit of an issue, according to city staff. City officials say they’re not seeing as many get out there as they’d like. One of the problems is that students on their way to and from school are sometimes opting to walk on the roads when sidewalks are blocked with uncleared snow.
Anyone unable to clear snow can check out the snow angel program: http://chilliwack.com/main/page.cfm?id=2289
Important numbers to have:
• 1-888-POWERON (1-888-769-3766)
Fortis BC (natural gas)
Public Works Yard
• 604-793-2810 Monday- Friday 7am-4:30 pm
After Hours Emergencies
• 604-792-2233 evenings, weekends, statutory holidays