12/28/2012 11:31 EST | Updated 02/27/2013 05:12 EST

Massive snow removal operation underway in Montreal

The City of Montreal says it will likely take seven days before all the clean up from Thursday's record-setting snowstorm is complete.

City engineer Michel Frenette said this morning that there are 3,000 workers, both city staff and private contractors, working to remove the 45 centimetres of snow that fell on the city in less than 24 hours.

Bus lanes and multi-lane roads are the priority, Frenette said.

The relentless snowstorm, which is now heading east toward Newfoundland, broke the record for snowfall in a 24-hour period in Montreal, surpassing the accumulation recorded during the 1971 "storm of the century" by two centimetres.

The city said workers would be clearing for at least the next seven days, with a planned break likely to take place on Jan. 1.

Frenette said the cost for the extensive operations would exceed the average $17 million the city says it spends to clear a 20 centimetre snowfall, but won't likely surpass $25 million.

Officials are urging Montrealers to get their cars off the streets when signage goes up to indicate plows are coming.

The city has 5,700 off-street parking places available for residents to use when plowing operations are in progress. A full list is available on the city's website or by calling 311.

The city is expected to provide an update on the clearing operations tomorrow at 11 a.m.

Delays continue at airport

At Montreal's Trudeau airport, where more than 200 flights were canceled at the height of the storm, travelers scrambled to find other arrangements.

Significant lines built up at check-in counters this morning, while at least 30 more flights were canceled and scores more delayed.

Airport officials say they hope to be running as normal by tomorrow.