With snow comes snow plows, out on the road to make winter driving conditions better for everyone. Beginning on November 1 each year, the Town of Huntsville’s Public Works staff monitor roads around the clock with crews out plowing the almost 500 kilometres of municipal roads each time Mother Nature delivers another hit.
The biggest thing you can do to help plow drivers with their efforts is to make room for them to do their job. Don’t park your vehicle on the street overnight. Vehicles that interfere with snow removal will be towed with the owner responsible for the sizable towing fee. The Town has issued 157 warnings since winter operations began and will now begin to tow vehicles that are in the way, says Steve Hernen, the Town’s director of operations and protective services. Park in municipal lots instead or keep your vehicle in your driveway.
When you encounter any of the Public Works fleet, remember to go slow and give plows and sanders room. They make frequent stops and may back up to move to another part of their route. Be courteous, keep your distance behind them—the best place to be on a snowy road is behind a plow; the road ahead will be in worse condition—and move around when the driver motions for you to go ahead. A good rule for keeping your distance: if you can’t see the driver in his mirrors, he can’t see you either.
This is year two of a pilot project for the Town’s winter operations, which has drivers on two shifts from 4 a.m. to noon and from noon to 8 p.m.—an increase in the amount of plowing time per day by four hours or more compared to previous years.
Year one of the pilot was a success, says Hernen. There have been some minor changes on the plow routes with the addition of some new subdivisions in town, but residents can expect to see similar service.
He reminds everyone to be patient—it does take time for the Town’s plows, graders, and sanders to clear roads and sidewalks. “We are into 24-hour operations now. If it’s snowing, we’re plowing. It takes a while to clear the roads and if people can give us as much room as possible and get their cars off the streets, that is our number one obstacle.”
Garbage bags and recycling bins can pose a problem as well—be sure to keep them on your property and off the sidewalk on garbage collection day. It takes sidewalk crews longer to clear routes if they have to move these out of the way, and if they are perched on top of a snow bank a plow may end up pushing them down the road.
Remember to mark your garbage bins or mailboxes, too, particularly if you are a seasonal resident, so that they aren’t damaged by a passing plow. If they’re buried in the snow, the driver can’t see them.
If you have any Public Works road questions, you can ask via myhuntsville.ca, contact the Town’s Customer Service Desk at 705-789-1751, or visit in person on the second floor of Town Hall.
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