SUMMERSIDE - Summerside municipal works crews are ready to deal with an intense spring snowstorm.
© Mike Carson/Journal Pioneer
Snowplow operator Robert McFeely, checks the oil in one of the city’s loaders in preparation for snow clearing operations within the city of Summerside. Municipal works crews will be out in force working to keep city streets clear.
Department director Greg Gaudet said preparations for as response have been made to deal with the projected heavy snowfall for the city.
“The city of Summerside is always ready during snow season,” Gaudet said. “The thing we might do is do some extra last minute checks on the equipment to make sure that everything’s in good working order. Instead of checking one, maybe we’ll double-check it for the bigger events and then go from there.”
He said all of their equipment is ready to go and any issues or problems experienced from other operations have been repaired.
One of the areas municipal works crews need to address when facing heavy snowfall is a place to put the snow.
“Sometimes we’ll go around and actually empty parking lots ahead of the big event to make sure we have room for the new snow,” Gaudet said. “Areas like the Credit Union Place was cleared of snow this week.”
The city operates three pagers that are on call 24/7 during the winter season.
“At the same time we always one to two guys at the shop ready to respond to any emergency for plows,” the director said. “Even if the plows are taken off the road for visibility issues, we still have staff staying at the facility for emergencies for 911 calls.
We follow the provincial judgments as far as visibility goes on the highways. If the province hauls the provincial plows off the main routes of Prince Edward Island, we’ll follow suit.
The city also co-ordinates snow plowing efforts with Curran and Briggs, in dependent contractors, contracted by the city to assist in snow clearing operations.
“We tell them and they come off the road at the same time and on the emergency side, things are still ready to go. Usually our own union staff will respond to emergencies. We’ll call in contractors for assistance as needed.
If we do get the amount of snow being called for, 50 centimetres or so or over 30 centimetres most likely it will take a while to clear all of the sidewalks. With that much snow coming it will probably take us two days to clear the sidewalks where normally it would take six to 10 hours.
Gaudet said for a normal snowstorm of 20 centimetres or less it takes crews 4.5 hours to clear the roads once the storm has ended.
“With this amount of snow it might take a little longer than 4.5 hours and with the blowing snow it will be a continual process.
Gaudet said the electric department will also have staff on standby ready to go in case of power outages.
Summerside Fire Chief Jim Peters said the department will have crews at both the Summerside and St. Eleanors fire stations for the duration of the storm to respond in case of emergencies.