In light of the recent snowfalls, City Hall has received a lot of inquiries into how Lacombe’s streets are cleared of snow, which routes receive priority and why.
Director of Infrastructure for the City of Lacombe Matt Goudy said the City has received no more inquiries than usual for this time of year, but would still like to clear up any confusion Lacombians may have about snow clearing during the winter months.
City of Lacombe staff is responsible for clearing snow on over 100 km of streets as well as several high-priority parking lots. Priority of a street is determined by a number of factors, including volume of traffic and what amenities the street is used to access.
For example, Goudy said that Lacombe’s priority one streets for snow clearing include the two highways as well as high traffic roads like C&E Trail, Wolf Creek Dr. and Woodland Dr. Goudy added that routes to emergency services, like the roads around the hospital, police station and fire hall also receive a high priority.
Finally, routes to schools are among Lacombe’s priority one routes as well.
After those areas, priority two roads include most of the remaining commercial sectors in Lacombe. Residential streets then make up priority three areas.
Goudy said the City currently has only a grader, a truck-mounted plow and a front end loader (which is only used for loading snow, not clearing it) for snow clearing equipment. There is also only a handful of workers who are qualified to used that equipment.
Goudy added it often takes some time to clear all the streets in Lacombe. Even though the City begins snow clearing and removal efforts as soon there is enough to clear, regardless of the day or time of the snowfall, Goudy said that sometimes crews have not completed snow clearing from the previous snowfall when they have to start over again during a new one.
For example, during the most recent heavy snowfall over the Nov. 15 – 17 weekend, snow removal on Lacombe’s priority three residential streets had still not been completed from the Nov. 1 – 3 snowfall before snow removal crews had to start again on priority one streets.
The City’s snow-clearing efforts typically run 24/7 at least until the priority one and priority two streets are clear, said Goudy.
However, there are exceptions to that rule.
Workers can only work so many hours and if they run out of hours before those streets are cleared, contractors may need to be called in to finish the job. Goudy added that, since the City rarely goes overtime when clearing priority three streets in residential areas, those routes can sometimes have a buildup of snow to the point where contractors need to be called in to finish those routes as well.
City council will consider possible changes to the current snow clearing policy at its Dec. 9 meeting.