Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

City hoping to avoid more rut trouble

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MORE than 300 snow-clearing vehicles were unleashed on Winnipeg's regional streets Wednesday as the city hopes the not-so-frigid temperatures will prevent a repeat of the concrete-hard ruts that plagued drivers earlier this month.

"We're looking at a full-out operation here," Jim Berezowsky, manager of streets maintenance, said Wednesday during a news conference.

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This latest snowstorm comes as crews are still clearing remaining sidewalks in some residential neighbourhoods and hurriedly trying to remove snowbanks from the downtown area.

A snow-route parking ban went into effect at midnight -- two hours earlier than under normal winter conditions. Mayor Sam Katz promised streets and sidewalks would be cleared more effectively in this snowstorm, but Berezowsky said he's instructed crews to follow the council-approved policy on how to handle the snow.

Berezowsky said the major difference with Wednesday's snowstorm and the two that hit the city between Christmas and New Year's is it's much warmer now. The warmer temperatures will make it easier to scrape the regional streets bare to the pavement -- unlike the frigid temperatures that followed the last two storms, which hardened ruts and made them a danger to motorists.

Temperatures are going through a roller-coaster-like cycle. Wednesday's high was expected to approach the freezing mark but the strong wind made it feel 20 degrees colder. The overnight low was to drop to -14 C and continue dropping throughout the day, reaching -19 C this afternoon and falling to -22 C later tonight.

Daytime temperatures are expected to reach -9 C Friday and -4 C Saturday, but the overnight lows will continue to hover around the -20 C mark. Snowfall was expected to continue into this morning and end later in the afternoon.

Berezowsky said treated salt is only effective at temperatures above -7 C, adding crews will apply sand if wind conditions are appropriate.

Blowing snow over the next two days will complicate clearing efforts, he said, adding the objective remains to attack regional streets first and keep collector and residential streets passable.

Berezowsky said it's taking longer to clear residential sidewalks because crews have been forced to use blowers to deal with the compacted snow, adding that takes much longer than using sidewalk plows.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 16, 2014 B1

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