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

WATCH: Soon-to-be guide dogs take part in the Amazing Puppy Race

10 puppies training to be guide dogs took part in a social Easter egg hunt

Economic inequality, immigration still need work in Victoria: Prosperity index

Housing, environmental health factors show improvements in 2019: report

Annual Easter event continues to grow in Oak Bay

Organizers expect 800 to 1,200 people for seventh annual event on April 20

Victoria City Councillor Laurel Collins wins federal NDP nomination

Collins will run for Victoria in the upcoming federal election

Long weekend starts with series of crashes

The long weekend traffic pile up is starting with a series of… Continue reading

Victoria church bells toll in solidarity with Notre Dame Cathedral after devastating fire

Churches around the globe ring bells to honour iconic Paris cathedral

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. senior sentenced for sexually abusing special-needs granddaughter

73-year-old Cortes Island man will go to jail for three years

Howe Sound Queen sailing toward retirement

Vessel now up for auction ends regular runs between Crofton and Vesuvius at the beginning of June

Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

Vancouver city councillor wants to decrease speed limits along neighbourhood side roads

Lawsuit eyed over union-only raise for B.C. community care workers

‘Low-wage redress’ leaves 17,000 employees out, employers say

Landlord of alleged Okanagan shooter recounts deadly day

Tony Friesen was working in one of the units of his Penticton building when he heard shots

Foreign national arrested in connection to thefts at YVR

A woman, 60, is being held in police custody as Richmond RCMP investigate

Most Read