01/01/2013 02:23 EST | Updated 03/03/2013 05:12 EST

Almost half of snow removed from Montreal

Five days after a record-breaking storm buried Montreal in snow, the city has finished almost half of its cleanup process.

City spokesperson Jacques-Alain Lavallée, announced today that 48 per cent of the city has been cleared.

He asked the for the public's patience, and pointed out the city has 10,000 kilometres of sidewalks and roads, making the snow removal process a challenging feat.

The city is aiming to have all cleanup operations completed by the Jan. 7 deadline, when most Montrealers return to work from the holidays.

Snow removal operations will continue today in the downtown Ville-Marie borough, as crews in the majority of Montreal's boroughs take a break from their work.

Provincial law mandates that operators of heavy machinery take a 36 hour break from their work after working more than 70 hours in seven days or less.

Lavallée asked for the public's cooperation as the snow removal process continues. He said that drivers should be cautious and respectful of the signs posted today on city streets in the downtown area.

In other regions of the city, including Lachine, LaSalle, Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Outremont, Pierrefonds-Roxboro, and the Plateau Mont-Royal, crews who have already benefited from their mandatory break will be returning to work overnight.

Today the city thanked all the employees who have been working without a break to clear roads and sidewalks.

The city also asked that members of the public continue to take public transportation as an alternative to driving in the city.