One of the City of Victoria’s snow plows . Crews are working on a three-tier system of priority regarding snow clearance. (Nick Murray/News Staff)

Victoria’s schools not a top priority for snow plows

The City of Victoria utilizes a three-tiered system in clearing snow from roads

Have you ever wondered why some roads are cleared right away and some aren’t?

Ed Robertson, assistant director of public works for the City of Victoria, has detailed the City’s emergency snow clearance plan that has been in effect all week.

The three-tiered system designates levels of priority for which routes will be cleared first.

Level 1 concerns major arterial roads, hills, decks and bridges. Also access to hospitals, and the police and fire departments.

The second level includes social care, homeless facilities, secondary roads and collection roads. Left-turn lanes with loop detectors also qualify for the second level.

The third level concerns residential streets, city parking lots and bike lanes.

WATCH: Boy on dangerously thin ice in Beacon Hill Park

Schools are responsible for clearing their own sidewalks and are not seen as a Level 1 priority.

“We have used 250 tonnes of salt and more is coming,” said Robertson. “On Saturday, we got through to Level 3 but for the last two days we’ve been at Level 1.”

He explained that crews are issued small maps of their sector and work through Level 1 until all roads are clear and then they progress to the next level. Whenever it snows, they have to return back to Level 1.

“We have five tandem dump trucks with plows and salt spreaders, three smaller trucks – also with plows and spreaders –and assorted other equipment like power brooms and Bobcats.”

Robertson added the City’s Gators, usually used in the cities parks and gardens, were also being utilized. “We put a blade on the Gators. When they’re not cutting grass, they’re out there moving snow.”

ALSO READ: Another snow day for Greater Victoria following night of snow fall

Robertson noted his department has a $40,000 training budget but receives operational money from the City’s contingency funds.

“As of yesterday, we’ve spent $25,000 and will go well beyond $40,000 by the end of the week,” he said.

The other Greater Victoria municipalities also have similar tiered systems and attend the same training courses as Victoria’s staff.

They also liaise once a year in the fall, where districts co-ordinate the boundaries of the areas they have responsibility for.

When asked how his crews, some working 12-hour shifts, were coping with the long days, Robertson said, “it’s tiring. There’s a lot of concentration plowing and providing assistance.”

In the wider B.C. context, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has four classes they use to prioritize road clearance resources for.

Class A roads are all numbered highways and are the ministry’s top priority. This includes Highway 17 (Pat Bay Highway) and Highway 1 starting at Tolmie Street.

Class B roads are all major side roads. On the Peninsula, this includes roads such as West Saanich Road and McTavish Road.

Class C roads are all school bus routes.

Class D roads are all other roads that fall under the ministry’s jurisdiction. When possible, the ministry does co-ordinate with local municipalities.

In addition, during major snowfall events, the ministry will focus on keeping intersection travel lanes passable first, and then work to remove snow from dedicated turning lanes.



nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Sidney designer showing killer collection at Van Fashion Week

A young Sidney designer is showing her 14 piece collection Obsidian Nights at Vancouver Fashion Week

WATCH: Oak Bay wins regional skating competition

Winning tradition continues leading up to provincials

Greater Victoria MP Randall Garrison calls on Ottawa to extend peacekeeping mission in Mali

The Esquimalt-Sooke-Saanich MP just returned from a trip to Mali and Senegal

Support group helps Victoria parents navigate issues with children

Parents and caregivers offered “free, safe, non-judgmental, confidential” support

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

POLL: Will you be wearing pink to take a stand against bullying?

Schools and workplaces across Greater Victoria and around the province will be… Continue reading

People gather for funeral of seven children killed in fast-moving Halifax fire

Traditional portion of the service will be followed by words from community members

B.C. weavers to help Alaska Native project honouring survivors of violence

Dozens of Chilkat and Ravenstail weavers from all over North America will be weaving 5-inch-by-5-inch squares

B.C. skip Sarah Wark and team eliminated at Scotties Tournament of Hearts

Nontheless pretty impressive stuff from the 24th-ranked team in the country

Pope’s sex abuse prevention summit explained

It’s A high-stakes meeting designed to impress on Catholic bishops the global problem

UPDATE: B.C. ticket holder winner of $25.9-million Lotto Max jackpot

Next draw set for Mar. 1 with an estimated jackpot of $10 million

Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message on Vancouver Island

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Most Read