ALBERTA

Calgary Snow Removal Efforts Haul Massive Loads, Take Toll On Staff

01/28/2014 05:32 EST | Updated 01/28/2014 06:59 EST
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The massive snow dumps that covered Calgary in the latter part of 2013 were so huge that as of this week crews had removed enough powder to build a life-size replica of the Great Pyramid in Giza.

The effort, and the frustration that sparked it, was such that it sent several city workers off on sick and stress leave.

City council got a full assessment on Monday of just what city crews were up against when they took to the streets almost a month ago to try to dig out a city, that in certain areas, remains snowbound.

The amount of snow that's been picked up and carted off from streets by city crews is more than the volume of stones used in the construction of the Great Pyramid, council was told, according to the Calgary Herald.

That's not counting the snow that was pushed off to the side or flat-bladed along neighbourhoods.

This is how much snow has been carried off from Calgary streets this month so far.

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Calgary Snow Volume

The amount of snow was such that it required drivers to work 15-hours a day for weeks on end, and the vitriol spewed by Calgarians unable to get in or out of their neighbourhoods was enough to pack many staffers off on stress leave, roads director Ryan Jestin was quoted by the Herald as saying.

The roads department has fielded nearly 3,000 angry calls, that, along with the work load and stress of the situation, has resulted in operators and road crews having to take stress or sick leave, Jestin told The Calgary Sun.

“I’ve got a lot of people under enormous pressure to try and keep almost everybody up to speed and it’s not an easy task," he said.

“I did spend a couple nights at 311 and most people were very respectful but there’s certainly been some other people who have been quite abusive and that’s disappointing to see from our city.

“What I would like to see a lot less of is people that phone up and think because a staff member works for the city, they have licence to verbally abuse them."

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The roads department hopes to have all residential roads cleared by the end of the month, at which point it will reassess the condition of those roads, according to the CBC.

By the time the month-long effort is done, the city will likely have spent $12 million. It's entire budget for 2014 is $34 million, reports the CBC.