Snow Removal - FAQs

Snow Removal - FAQs

Posted on November 22nd, 2021
Following last week's snowfall we have had a number of questions about the snow removal process. We endeavour to be as open and transparent with the public as possible, and have answered some of the most common questions below.
 
For more FAQs, as well as priority maps and the snow removal policy, visit www.edson.ca/snow.
FAQ
 
How do you determine the plowing priorities?
 
The priorities have been set based on emergency vehicle access, school zones, downtown parking, and residential access. 49th Street and 6th Avenue are always done first to open up the Town to emergency vehicles. Once priority routes are cleared, commercial zones and high traffic areas are completed before moving into residential zones. The commercial zone criteria is based on access to food and medical supplies. High traffic areas include our facility parking lots, senior housing, and 10th Avenue.
 
What triggers snow removal and what are the timelines?
 
A snow event is defined as snowfall accumulation of at least 5 cm. This triggers the priority routes to be cleared once the snow has slowed down. Depending on the severity of the snow event, and the type of snow (heavy, wet snow can take substantially more time to clear) crews can generally clear priority routes, commercial district, and high traffic areas within 3-4 days. Residential zones take a bit longer as signage must be posted, and vehicles may be required to be removed from the working zones. Staffing and equipment failures could impact these timelines.
 
Why do certain streets get down multiple times before residential streets are complete?
 
If we receive another snow event following the clearing of priority routes, crews are currently required to start over. The system is designed this way to ensure emergency access to as much of Town as possible. Some streets also allow for the moving of snow into a ditch, making it a much faster process than streets that require snow to be hauled away.
 
My street or cul-de-sac is near a priority route. Why can’t crews do this while they are in the area?
 
When dealing with priority routes, the main goal is to get them priority roads cleared for emergency traffic as quickly as possible. Cul-de-sacs may require special equipment to make the sharper turns and to haul away the snow. These are generally done while residential clearing is underway and the staffing/equipment is available.
 
Why doesn’t the Town of Edson run multiple snow removal shifts?
 
Our snow removal schedules are based on available resources, which does have staff and equipment limitations. However, shifts are designed to maximize progress, including multiple shifts and weekends as required, as well as the hiring of contracted trucks/equipment.
 
Some communities do overnight snow removal, can this be done here?
 
While there can be a benefit to overnight shifts in some situations, in residential areas it becomes problematic with vehicles parked on the street and noise levels. Early morning and night shifts are often utilized when contracted to clear along the highway or when working in the downtown core because vehicles and noise are less of a concern.
 
How do you let people know what areas are being worked on?
 
The Town of Edson endeavours to keep residents informed at every step of the snow removal process. Notices are placed on the Town website www.edson.ca/snow, the Town of Edson mobile app, and Town social media channels. As well, signage is placed in each neighbourhood as crews work through the priority routes and residential neighbourhoods.
 
What does the Town of Edson spend on snow removal each year?
 
Actual costs can range anywhere from $300,000 to over $600,000, depending on the number of snow events we receive. This cost includes our staff labour, fuel, sand, and any contracted services. For example, 2019 saw 11 snow events (greater than 5cm accumulation) with a cost of about $635,000, while 2020 only had 5 snow events with a cost of about $315,000. A special reserve is set up to help cover costs for extreme circumstances.