Yukon North Of Ordinary

News archive for December 31, 2013

Complete snow removal job will take a month

Be patient – the plows are coming.

By Stephanie Waddell on December 31, 2013 at 3:07 pm


Photo submitted

WINTERSʼ HAVOC – The snow has created problems outside the city as well. Top: Whitehorse firefighters, aided by the Golden Horn Volunteer Fire Department, rescue the occupant of this vehicle Monday afternoon after it left the Alaska Highway about one kilometre north of the Lewes River Bridge. The highway was closed briefly. Blowing snow conditions may have contributed to the mishap. Star photo by VINCE FEDOROFF Below: this trucksʼ trailer did not make the turn onto Alaska Highway in Watson Lake this morning. Photo by JIMMY SALT

Be patient – the plows are coming.

With the continued snowfall over the past few days, additional city crews are working overtime to plow high-priority roads and compact the snow on sidestreets to make it easier for residents to navigate.

On Monday, city officials issued a reminder to be cautious of snow-clearing equipment as crews continue working on clogged streets.

“Please exercise caution when travelling, and be sure to provide enough space for the snow-clearing equipment at work,” officials said.

“When clearing snow from driveways, please do not move it onto sidewalks or roadways. This is not safe, and creates problems for people trying to move around, particularly those with mobility issues.”

The city also pointed to its snow-clearing policy, outlining its priorities, and noted crews are working all hours of the day to deal with the snow.

As interim city manager Brian Crist explained this morning, the city’s night crew of six people and weekend crew of four employees have been brought in to step up snow-clearing efforts around the clock.

The first roads to be cleared, as outlined in the Snow and Ice Control Policy, are freeways as well as major arterial roads, emergency routes, bus routes and roads with steep grades.

Second priority roads are the remaining arterial roads, emergency routes, bus routes, major industrial areas, the central business district downtown and school zones.

The priority then goes to any remaining roads and, finally, city-owned parking lots and lanes.

As Crist noted though, priorities can change depending on circumstances.

Snow removal will likely take upwards of a month.

However, he said the policy requires the city to compact snow on the sidestreets. If there are roads that can’t be navigated due to the snowfall, the city will send out crews and equipment to compact the snow there first.

“That becomes a priority,” Crist said.

Typically though, once the first two priority roads are dealt with, crews go to neighbourhoods with a higher snowfall and work to clean the sidestreets before travelling on to other neighbourhoods.

Those with less snow accumulation, often in Riverdale, are done last.

“It’ll be an ongoing effort,” Crist said.

The city has been getting a number of phone calls from residents questioning when their streets will be plowed. To Crist’s knowledge, there aren’t any roads which can’t be navigated.

A total of $3.1 million has been budgeted for winter road maintenance in 2013, and it’s expected the city will meet that budget by the end of today, said Valerie Anderson, the manager of financial services.

She noted the city has spent about 85 per cent of its budget so far, and there will still have to be payroll and other expenses factored in by the end of today.

As Crist noted, a fairly mild fall meant there wasn’t a lot spent on snow removal early in the season.

It’s only been in the past week or so that the city has seen such a significant snowfall requiring around-the-clock efforts.

While today marks the end of the year for the city, Anderson pointed out the city will operate under a provisional budget in 2014 until the operating budget is adopted in the new year.

“Snow-clearing will continue tomorrow,” she said.

CommentsAdd a comment

bill williams

Dec 31, 2013 at 3:24 pm

I could not help but notice the city hall staff parking lot and the road to Sima are very well ploughed.


Dec 31, 2013 at 4:00 pm

I clean my driveway; it takes a long time, and the snowplow, when it decides to come by, pushes all the snow back in….what’s up with that.


Jan 1, 2014 at 1:16 pm

What Crist fails to realize is that many streets, particularly in Copper Ridge (when snowfall is much higher) are down to single lane traffic as many street haven’t been cleared a single time this winter.

There is obviously risk to the public if there is need for police, fire or ambulance to attend a scene but actually can’t get to it.

As far as COWs priority system for ranking when streets get cleared it is ass-backward.  The main arteries are quickly compacted by traffic and the side streets and cul-de-sacs are impassible to smaller cars.

Why are school zones a priority when no schools are in?


Jan 2, 2014 at 11:12 am

good job guy’s, never mind everyone complaining about their roads and sniveling about the plow.  I had a lady hit my truck today and she blamed it on the snow banks on the side of the road, never mind her excessive speed and summer tires.  I told her dunderheads of cars go by here everyday and no one seems to have a problem

Once again, Good job and happy new year

Plow the road

Jan 2, 2014 at 4:20 pm

The roads are in great shape if you’re driving a Dodge dualie.
We took a cab home from a New Year’s Eve party to Copper Ridge and had to help the driver by shovelling and pushing him out in front of our house.


Jan 2, 2014 at 9:00 pm

We have a lot of snow that is hard on driveway/sidewalk shovellers and COW crews. Agree with ‘Pickitywitch’ re the driveway blocking; as an arthritic senior I find the ice blocks hard to remove after COW has cleared the street. Tough to take when time has been spent to plow out driveway and clear sidewalk only to find access is blocked by COW.
Single lane traffic in neighbourhood streets is caused by folk driving in middle of street and pushing snow to sides. We have a street with clean sidewalks where snow has been pushed to boulevards & not into street, but have large piles extending 5’ into street put there by local traffic. Difficult to back out of driveways & difficult for garbage trucks to access bins that can’t be placed against curbs, but resident drivers need to take responsibility for packing down snow across whole width of street and not just centre. COW has a tough job, but they are working on it so have patience.


Jan 3, 2014 at 7:30 am

As woodcutter said, the city does a good job.  Everyone who complains, just consider this; we don’t get this type of snowfall annually, this is uncommon.  Why would the city base their budget on uncommon events?  Do you want your taxes going up to support a snow removal system that would clear all streets rapidly during events like we just experienced, but sit idle for other years?  That’s inefficient and a waste of money.
Winter happens.  Drive sensibly and buy good winter tires.

north of 60

Jan 3, 2014 at 2:38 pm

It’s winter in the Yukon and the deep snow is beautiful.

People who drive with care and attention to road conditions, and use good winter tires, shouldn’t have problems getting around with a little extra snow.

Steve Cumming

Jan 4, 2014 at 5:56 pm

Streets in our subdivision have one lane traffic, lots of snow, and more is expected tonight. Snow removal is way behind schedule.
Skidoos are driving all over the road like its a play area. I am concerned there will be an accident. City policy is putting people in a bad situation.
Play vehicles and regular road vehicles should be separated.


Jan 4, 2014 at 9:52 pm

“Everyone who complains, just consider this; we don’t get this type of snowfall annually, this is uncommon.  Why would the city base their budget on uncommon events?”
That’s something I’ve never understood. In years where there’s not much snow doesn’t that mean there’s money left over for years where there’s more snow?
I do think that keeping snow from piling up at intersections where it blocks sight lines should be a priority.

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