Storm presents challenges in Armstrong

Crews continue to clean up and make snow removal assessments following last week’s massive storm

The month of January, as pointed out by public works manager Tim Perepolkin, is usually the City of Armstrong’s heavy snow month.

He’s not kidding.

Perepolkin and his staff continue to clean up and make snow removal assessments following last week’s massive storm that dumped close to 40 centimetres of snow.

“We”re assessing sidewalks on a daily basis and coming up with some priorities and see what we can do in some of these areas,” said Perepolkin, who wasn’t even born when the last storm of such magnitude hit the area in 1969, to city council Monday morning.

“Some of the challenges we’ve faced are, in some older sections, the street right-of-ways are very narrow, so we’ve got one lane of traffic opened with monster snow piles on one side of the road, and a pile of snow adjacent the sidewalk if the sidewalk’s opened, or the sidewalk’s buried.”

To open up sidewalks, Perepolkin said crews have to push the snow behind or haul it away. Most of the time, crews are able to push away the snow. If it has to be hauled, that means bringing in additional resources and “gets very costly in a hurry.”

“We worked through the weekend with our loader and two hired trucks to haul out the downtown core,” said Perepolkin.

“We hauled close to 100 loads of snow to open up extra parking and clear some visibility issues.”

Armstrong crews have been working long shifts since the start of the snow Jan. 4. By 5 p.m. Jan. 5, all streets were accessible.

There were issues for the sidewalk contractor, as the snow was too deep for his plow, so he changed to a snow blower on the morning of Jan. 5 before breaking down on Rosedale Avenue.

Crews, said Perepolkin, have been plowing  sidewalks where possible with the loaders on the main routes and adjacent school, and a backup contractor arrived Jan. 8 to open the remaining main route sidewalks.

Secondary street sidewalks are in various conditions and have not been cleaned by city crews.

“Some residents have cleaned sections, which, is appreciated, but it does tend to create additional problems when they push or blow the snow back out onto the street,” said Perepolkin, who added the city is concentrating its resources on moving snow that is causing a safety hazard on main routes and intersections.