The first snowfall has come, and many more are expected as winter settles into the South Peace.
Snow removal preparations are in place in the City of Grande Prairie, according to a news release.
The city will see a few new changes in its removal logistics this year.
Residential neighbourhoods will continue to receive snow clearing in a two-week rotation, with neighbourhoods being assigned week A and week B designations.
The city plows and controls ice on priority roads which have higher traffic volumes.
Priority 1 and 2 roads will be the first to be plowed as they ensure access to emergency vehicles, transit, and residents, said the city. Priority 3 roads are then cleared after 1 and 2 roads.
Residential snow clearing will only begin once it is declared to start and is completed by contract snow removal crews on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
The city’s rural roads are completed on an as-needed basis.
A map of residential areas and when they plan to be plowed can be found at cityofgp.com/snow, and for more information, residents can call 311.
The city said permanent parking bans began on Monday (Nov. 7) on permanent snow routes.
The public works crew is ready for the snowfall in Beaverlodge, said Jeff Johnston, Beaverlodge chief administrative officer.
He said snow removal becomes a priority for public works as it happens, and they clear snow as needed.
Changes are coming to Beaverlodge council in the form of policy changes, said Johnston, but he said residents would not notice a difference in their current level of service.
“We get very few complaints,” he said, “I can't speak to all the municipalities, but we clear all the driveways (entrances) too, so that's a definite service for the residents that not every municipality has.”
Sexsmith public works is ready and sanding has begun in earnest, said Alan Gordey, Sexsmith public works superintendent.
He said priority routes are looked after first every snowfall, followed by residential routes.
For residential, crews start east and work to the west; on the next snowfall, west to east.
“Nobody gets it first every time it’s just traded back and forth on different parts of town,” said Gordey.
He noted they would plow roads generally after 5 cm of snowfall; after every grading, they spread sand as well.
Sand is used after 2.5 cm of snowfall.
“As soon as you get an inch (2.5 cm) of snow on the ground, then traffic goes over, and it starts glazing up, we have to sand for sure,” said Gordey.
He noted residents would not see any changes in service this year regarding snow removal, but public works will also be taking on an additional two km of trail along the new berm north of town once it opens to the public in the next month.
County of Grande Prairie
The County of Grande Prairie said it is prepared for winter’s worst and looks to have all rural roads cleared within five days of significant snowfall and 12 days for hamlets and residential subdivisions.
Temporary parking restrictions apply to residential and hamlets for snow clearing. The county says digital no parking signs will be placed at the entrances of areas where the parking ban will occur with no street parking from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. when signs are in place.
“The best way for residential areas to stay up to date is to watch the digital signs and subscribe to our Residential Snow Removal news,” said Ryan Konowalyk, county public works director.
He said residents could find more information on county snow removal at countygp.ab.ca/snowremoval. The county noted residents could also subscribe to notifications on snow removal at countygp.ab.ca/subscribe and select Residential Snow Removal to receive email notifications.
The county clears over 3,500 km of paved and gravel roadways during the winter months.
The county began clearing residential areas on Monday (Nov. 7)
Wembley public works has been busy preparing for snow removal, said Chris Crane, public works foreman.
He said residents will see about the same level of service as last year, and as it's his first year as the public works foreman, he will see if any changes are needed later in the year.
He said the town plows snow as needed and starts with priority routes around the schools and main streets before moving into residential areas.
Crane said if Wembley residents want more information on snow removal, they can go to the town website at wembley.ca/p/public-works---snow-removal-procedures or residents can call or visit the town office, which is always willing to help, he said.
Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News