City takes six hours to clear streets

Mike Carson
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SUMMERSIDE - Getting around the city of Summerside on Monday was problematic at best when, by 9 a.m., the only roadways clear were the main connector routes of Water, Granville and Central streets. Any motorist living elsewhere in the city had to negotiate various depths of snow.
It is a frustrating experience for people trying to get to work on time but the issue is just as frustrating for city officials trying to get roadways cleared.
Terry Murphy, the city's chief administrative officer, said the timing of Monday's storm played a major role in the delay of getting the streets plowed.
"It takes six hours to get it cleared," he said. "Six hours of non-stop work."
He said throughout the winter most storms are usually over or have diminished enough during the early morning hours to allow plowing to begin around 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. On Monday, the storm was so intense that plows were pulled off the roads at 6 a.m. because of zero visibility. They didn't return to the task until around 8 a.m.
"I was up around 6:45 a.m. and I couldn't see the road from my home," Murphy said.
Once the plows did return to work, all municipal streets were cleared by mid- afternoon.
Coun. Garth Lyle, chairman of the city's municipal works committee, said he received numerous telephone calls from his constituents in Ward 2, St. Eleanors-Slemon Park, complaining about the impassable roads in the area. He said residents outside the former Town of Summerside borders have consistently complained that they are plowed last while the inner city seems to get preferential treatment.
"It seem like where I'm at, in the outside wards it takes too long," he said. "Usually, everything is cleared in there - it's like summertime."
Murphy said there is no truth to the statements that the outer wards have to wait for snow plowing. He said the city is divided into sectors with plow crews assigned to each area. Which streets are plowed first in each sector is up to the crew working there.
As for the older part of the city getting cleared up first, Murphy said he was on Coronation Avenue, where Mayor Basil Stewart resides and at noon, that street had not been plowed.
Murphy aid the city usually follows the direction set by the province when it comes to pulling plows off the roads for safety reasons. When the province calls plows off, the city will follow.

Geographic location: SUMMERSIDE, Eleanors-Slemon Park, Coronation Avenue

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  • Derek
    June 21, 2010 - 19:07

    Boo hoo 6hrs. In rural PEI and the rest of Canada for that matter we would be glad to be cleaned out after 6hrs. At 4pm the next day I seen the first plow by 5pm they made another pass which then started to make it that you could travel if NECESSARY. NO sympathy here. Yes I don't like it but it is winter. Come on out to West Point and keep me company for 24hrs and see how you like it.

  • George
    June 21, 2010 - 19:06

    The street I live on here in Edmonton has NEVER seen a plow of any kind, heck, it cant even be called a street anymore as there are old cow trails on P.E.I that are more passable.

  • Bill
    June 21, 2010 - 19:03

    While I have not been over this winter, I have always felt that our operators are the very best at clearing the streets both during and after bad weather. I remember my dad saying to me one time after a huge storm that Art or Duck or Ernie could pick up a dime with a tractor bucket. I am sure many still can. Check out some other major centres and I am certain you will soon realize how lucky you are with what you have.