Municipality working around the clock to clean up from winter wallop

Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017 (Halifax, NS) – Residents woke up this morning to a significant snowfall following yesterday’s exceptional weather event which brought 55 to 70 cm of snowfall to the Halifax region.

Winter Operations crews have been working around the clock since the storm began on Sunday, to keep main streets safe and passable, and the next phase of work began this morning to open up residential streets and initiate sidewalk clearing operations.

Main streets and transit routes have been cleared and salted to coincide with resumption of Halifax Transit bus service, which began rolling out at 5 p.m. Transit passengers are advised to be patient given that it will take some time for all buses on routes to sync up with the posted schedules.

Winter Operations crews are now focused on improving conditions on streets located near schools, universities, hospitals, and the business districts in advance of the rush hour commute on Wednesday. Please note that streets may be snow covered in some areas with isolated slippery patches, and work continues to widen all streets to provide full travel lanes. Additionally motorists, pedestrians and cyclists should be aware of reduced visibility at intersections and driveways due to the height of snowbanks, and should reduce speed accordingly.

The majority of residential streets have received service with work continuing at this time; in some cases this may mean two-way traffic is enabled without full-lane widths being cleared. Please note in areas where equipment has to return to complete service, snow may be pushed back into private driveways more than once. We regret the inconvenience but this is necessary in order to properly expose catch basins and enable wider travel lanes.

Targeted snow removal will take place in some cul-de-sac’s beginning tonight to address those areas without adequate storage capability.

Sidewalk and bus stop clearing is getting underway, which will require significant time and effort given the sheer volume of snow accumulation, in addition to snow from street clearing operations and that has been pushed into sidewalks from private property.  The height of many snowbanks currently present in most sidewalk areas can be a challenge for equipment, but all resources possible are being deployed to open these up as quickly as we are able. It is not expected that all sidewalks can be fully accessible for ten to 14 days.   

Crews will begin removing snow from bus stops and landing pads beginning tonight and continuing over the next few nights, to provide a safe place for transit passengers to board and disembark buses. Although sidewalk clearing is also underway, in some areas bus stops may be cleared but the sidewalk may not have been serviced.

The overnight winter parking ban will be enforced from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m., Wednesday, Feb. 15. Vehicles must be off-street during these hours or they will be subject to ticketing and towing. Residents are also reminded that vehicles impeding snow clearing operations can be ticketed and towed at any time under S. 139 of the Motor Vehicle Act. It is critical that vehicles are removed from streets and sidewalk areas during the parking ban to allow crews to properly clear snow and maintain safe vehicular and pedestrian travel ways.

Motorists, pedestrians and cyclists are all advised to travel with extra care and look out for one another, and our equipment, over the coming days.

Accessibility, Mobility & Service Time Lines

Winter Operations crews are focused on improving mobility and accessibility for all as quickly as possible, given the amount of work to be completed. Crews will be targeting clearing of crosswalks, intersections, and providing access to push buttons over the next few days. 

The municipality is also monitoring weather forecasts as another weather system is headed this way on Thursday. Crews will therefore be working hard to push snow back to the curb in many areas in an effort to expose catch basins and storm drains in the event that we receive rain. 

Given that this was exceptional weather event, with over 60 cm of accumulated snowfall, stated service time lines will not be met. Any requests or concerns related to snow clearing submitted to 311 will be passed on to Winter Operations, however please note that it may take some time for staff to action the request. It will take a number of days to complete clean-up from this ongoing weather event, however crews will continue to work around the clock until conditions have improved in all areas.

For the most up-to-date information on snow clearing operations follow @hfxgov on Twitter or visit Residents without internet access can obtain this information by contacting 311.

The municipality asks for residents’ patience and understanding as we continue to collectively manage the outcome of this severe winter storm.  

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