Record snowfalls in Okotoks are driving town crews out to clear snow on residential roads.
“Everything is abnormal this winter with respect to weather, so this activity is out of the norm too,” said Okotoks transportation manager Jamie Greenshields. “Moving into residential areas is not something we’d normally do, but because they’re becoming pretty impassable in several areas we need to come do some effort in there.”
He said two or three mini-crews will take to Okotoks streets in the next couple of weeks, using smaller equipment to move snow and make it easier to travel and park on roads.
It will be fast-moving and sporadic, so the Town will not be able to put out signs ahead of time, he said. There is a lot of behind-the-scenes planning going into working around bus and garbage collection schedules, he said.
Website and social media notices will be updated regularly over the coming weeks to notify neighbourhoods when crews will be working on their streets.
The transportation team will be working around vehicles that haven’t been removed, he said.
The snow will not be removed from neighbourhoods.
“We’re simply moving it around and storing it within the boulevards and things like that,” said Greenshields. “It would take weeks to haul snow, plus the cost implications would be extraordinary.”
With temperatures expected to be above zero next week, he said there will be a focus on drainage areas and catch basins to ensure melting snow has somewhere to go as things heat up.
He said the Town would have been okay before the last major snowfall on March 2, which will cause issues with increased levels of slush on residential roads and lead to drains being frozen over. Clearing some of the accumulated snow will help reduce issues, he said.
The most important thing now is for residents to be patient and be prepared to travel a little slower in areas that haven’t been touched yet.
“It’s a record-breaking winter on many fronts and we can’t just get it all away right away,” said Greenshields. “It’s not going to be a super smooth road in our communities, especially this winter.
“The crews are doing their best, they’re working 24/7 and we appreciate the patience from the community while we get through it.”