Surrey is “reasonably” positioned to handle snow and ice along its more than 4,000 lane kilometres of priority roads this coming winter as the city braces for La Nina conditions that bring higher than normal amounts of precipitation, city engineering manager Scott Neuman says.
In a corporate report council approved Monday Neuman noted expenditures from his department’s $3.7 million winter maintenance budget have totalled $2.9 million since Jan. 1.
“So far this budget’s been sufficient. This year we had to reprioritize with the reduction in budget from TransLink of approximately $1.9 million” for winter maintenance, Neuman told council.
“We continue to optimize and prioritize the routes as we can. As we do have more snow, we do have a bit of a snow reserve, albeit there’s only a couple million dollars left in it, if there’s additional snowfall this year.”
Neuman said this in response to Councillor Mandeep Nagra’s question if Surrey has enough equipment and if it needs to buy more.
Neuman reported that TransLink has indicated funding to cities for operation and maintenance of arterial roads will be
re-established in 2021. Surrey currently has 56 “pieces of snow clearing equipment available to respond to storm
events during the 2020/21 winter season,” he said, as well as 17,000 tonnes of road salt.
Surrey’s equipment includes 23 tandem dump trucks, two city graders, two “hired” graders and 29 one-ton trucks. All are equipped with plows and all the trucks are sanders.
“In advance of a forecasted snow and ice event, City crews will apply a brine solution to the road,” Neuman reported. “The brine applied to the road surface dries, with the residual salt taking effect immediately when snow begins to fall or when frost begins to form.”
Councillor Doug Elford said “one of the big complaints we’re getting over the years is the snow, and how we’re clearing the snow.
“It’s usually something that a lot of councillors hear. Last year we won a North American award, I believe, for our work on this last year and it was certainly quite noticeable on the streets. I certainly noticed it and people had said to me that your response to complaints was a lot better last year, it was really, really good,” Elford said.
“Once again Surrey is leading, and it’s going to be a busy year once again, according to the almanacs.”
Sanding, salting and snow-plowing are done on a priority basis, with the first priority being arterial roads, major collector roads, bus routes and hilly areas. For these, Neuman said, sanding and plowing are carried out around the clock as long as poor conditions exist.
Second priority are residential streets between the arterial or major collector road grid, typically more than 200 metres long and connecting local traffic with either an arterial or major collector roadway.
“All secondary priority work is performed during normal work hours only,” Neuman said.
Third priority, or remaining roads, will be done as directed by the general manger of engineering or his delegate.