Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

West End snow ridge 'absolutely ridiculous'

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DAYS after they dug out from a snowstorm, some West End residents were forced to climb their way out after city plows left a huge snow ridge near their front step.

Susanne Flett said Minto Street was clogged with big ruts following last week's snowfall, and she was looking forward to city plows clearing the roadway. Crews plowed the street on Friday, but dumped the snow and ice from the road onto the Minto Street sidewalk, leaving the walkway virtually impassable for several days.

Flett said the snow ridge is five feet high in some places, and residents had to climb over it to get in and out of their homes. She called the situation "absolutely ridiculous" and said it made it difficult for seniors and other residents to get around.

Flett phoned the city's 311 hotline to report the problem on Saturday but, as of Monday morning, the sidewalk was still completely blocked.

"We're expected to get through that? It's flabbergasting," said Flett, who suffers from knee problems.

City of Winnipeg spokeswoman Tammy Melesko said in a statement that crews do not typically plow snow from the street onto the sidewalks. However, she said in areas where there is limited space to store snow on boulevards, plows will deposit snow onto sidewalks. The snow is typically removed soon after the plowing operation.

"In this circumstance the clearing did not happen and it was an oversight," Melesko said in an email. "Crews are currently on site addressing the situation."

Melesko said the sidewalk on Minto Street was cleared Monday evening.

Flett said she's lived in the area for 21 years and has never encountered a similar situation.

"I was livid. I couldn't believe it," she said.

So far this year, Winnipeg's 311 hotline has received 7,972 service requests for snow-clearing, which could include anything from missed streets to fire hydrants covered in snow. Another 10,805 requests for information on snow zones or other snow-related questions have been reported to 311.

Last week's snow-clearing operation cost the city about $4 million.

The city has budgeted about $26 million for snow-clearing this year. It cost $11 million to clear snow from city streets in January -- almost twice as much as the $6 million the city budgeted.

jen.skerritt@freepress.mb.ca

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Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 12, 2013 B1

History

Updated on Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 10:57 AM CDT: replaces photo

11:56 AM: adds that sidewalk on Minto Street was cleared Monday evening.

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