The City of Winnipeg planned to plow all regional and collector streets by early morning today, but no decision will be made about clearing snow from residential streets until Monday.
At least 12 centimetres of snow have fallen in Winnipeg since an Alberta clipper blew in on Thursday afternoon. This led the city to mobilize approximately 150 pieces of snow-clearing machinery in a $1.25-million snow-clearing effort, said Ken Boyd, street-maintenance manager for the city's public works department.
Crews also began clearing back lanes on Friday and should be finished today, Boyd added. All city sidewalks should be cleared by Tuesday.
The public works department will wait until Monday to decide whether it makes sense to clear residential streets, as some of the snow that's fallen has melted or has been compressed. The city may begin plowing residential streets after 10 to 15 centimetres of snow accumulate on the surface or if streets are deeply rutted or otherwise impassable.
Approximately $9 million remains in the city's $31.2-million annual snow-clearing budget, which covers the 2010 calendar year. But the decision to plow is based entirely on road conditions, as the city maintains a snow-clearing reserve to deal with unexpected storms.
If the city decides to plow residential streets, notifications will be made through the media and on the city's website, which will be updated every day at 2 p.m. to display the specific streets that will be plowed, public works spokesman Ken Allen said.
Winnipeg motorists adapted well to the road conditions, said Brian Smiley of Manitoba Public Insurance, which processed approximately 1,000 collision reports across the province.
"That's not a heavy day for us. A heavy day is 2,000," Smiley said. "When the weather gets nasty, a lot of people in the city of Winnipeg slow down and people in rural areas."
On Friday morning, a Good Samaritan in Point Douglas shovelled a full block of Hallet Street before 7:30 a.m. On Friday afternoon, motorists on Pembina Highway slowed to a sensible 40-kilometre-an-hour crawl.
On Arlington Street, a store manager scurried to the back room of his 7-Eleven, searching for a long-stored crate of ice scrapers to place on shelves. "I know they are here!" he exclaimed to a customer who suggested the shop could make a fortune selling them.
Outside Winnipeg, portions of highways 10 and 83 were closed part of Friday, while even open roads experienced whiteout conditions, as windblown snow reduced visibility to less than 100 metres.
And to answer a question on the minds of Winnipeggers since traffic circles were placed on newly created bikeways: Yes, some snowplows had problems navigating around the structures.
In River Heights, a truck plow attempting to clear Grosvenor Avenue struggled around one traffic circle, reversed and finally bumped into a signpost.
When will they plow my street?
To view a map of city snow-clearing activities, visit www.winnipeg.ca/publicworks/parkingbans and click on "snow-clearing map."
To subscribe to email updates about parking bans, fill out the form at www.winnipeg.ca/wpgmail/PW/pw_cs_subscribe.stm
SNOW ROUTES: An overnight parking ban will be in effect from Dec. 1 to March 1, from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. The ban will commence at midnight after major snowfalls, pending a public notification.
RESIDENTIAL STREETS: After major snowfalls -- and public notifications -- parking on residential streets slated for grading will be banned from midnight to 6 a.m.
TEMPORARY BANS: Signs will ban parking on specific streets when special snow removal is warranted.
Source: City of Winnipeg