Calgary motorists are enjoying the unseasonably warm fall weather, and with it a long stretch of clear, dry roads. But the city is already preparing for what must come next.
Calgary's roads maintenance manager says the city is getting ready for an above-average snowfall this winter, and will be using a seven-day plan for clearing Calgary's streets, ensuring the busiest streets are tended to first.
"The last five years or so, we've averaged about 140 centimetres of snow per year," said Chris Hewitt at a press conference to outline the city's snow and ice removal strategy.
"Last year was a little heavier, we had about 190. This year, while we don't know what to expect, we are prepared for a fairly heavy snowfall season."
The seven-day plan means city crews will plow or sand most roads within seven days after a significant snowfall.
The city will also be testing a new salt product this winter, in some controlled areas as a trial.
"It's a salt product that may work at lower temperatures than regular salt," he said.
The new salt is different than adding aggregate to the roads, sometimes called pickle.
"When we're talking about salt, we're talking about a pure salt mixed for lower temperatures," Hewitt said. "Pickle is an aggregate that we use. It's mixed with salt, we use that at a much lower temperature to put down abrasives and to create traction on the street."
Hewitt is asking that people start preparing for winter conditions.
"We know that when the snow comes, driving can be a challenge," he said. "We encourage people to plan a little more time, take a little more time for their routes, maintain a safe distance between vehicles, slow down, certainly winterize cars and then, you know, look for driving tips — we have driving tips on calgary.ca/snow."
Hewitt says the city's snow budget is in good shape.
The city spent $25 million on snow and ice control in the first part of 2020, leaving another $15 million to get Calgary through to the end of the calendar year.