Monday brings not only a reprieve from the bitter cold that gripped Calgary over the weekend, but it's also the day city crews begin removing snow from residential roads.
As well, for the first time in the city's history, Calgary has contracted snow trucks to remove snow from every residential street, instead of just plowing it to the side.
According to the Calgary Herald, the one-time deal will cost about $6.7 million, taken from the city's snow clearing budget.
And Calgarians are told they will have to be patient – it will take the 16 crews approximately four weeks to get rid of the snow plaguing communities.
A blizzard five weeks ago in the southern Alberta city, and frequent snowfalls since, have forced delays in snow removal, frustrating many residents in communities where snow accumulation has left roads impassible.
According to the Calgary Sun, the city has removed more than 90,000 tonnes of snow from Priority 1 and 2 roads since the blizzard, however, every time crews are about to enter residential areas, more snow seems to fall, forcing plows back onto main roads and leaving communities to suffer.
“We have been very busy removing snow, it’s just Calgary is pretty big so we haven’t gotten to every single street,” transportation spokesperson Carissa Vescio told the Sun.
December's record snowfall amounts have left most residential roads unplowed, and fluctuations in temperature over recent weeks mean many streets have deteriorated in condition, packed with ice and snow.
Irma Sultanian, a senior living in the southwest community of Shawnee Slopes, told the Calgary Herald she has only been able to leave her neighbourhood because it's on a slight decline to a major road. Getting home, however, is a different story -- she's had to rely on neighbours to push her car back up the street and into the driveway.
“We are so frustrated, we don’t know what to do,” she said. “We cannot leave the house.”
Sean Hoban, a Riverbend resident, told the Sun the 30 centimetre-deep tire ruts carved into the packed snow on his street are becoming a safety concern.
“If you’re not right in those tracks, you are going to hit a parked car — it is starting to get dangerous,” he said.
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Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi admitted last month that snow control has failed in some areas, and that the city has been inundated with citizen complaints regarding snow removal.
And Calgary's not the only area of Alberta that's been hit hard by the snow in recent weeks
A massive pile of snow, ice and dirt was captured by Edmonton's Global 1 helicopter Saturday, showing dump trucks and bulldozers lumbering up the affectionately-named 'Snow Dirt Mountain.'
And although Edmonton has been spared some of the snow control woes plaguing Calgary, the City plans to remove windrows caused by plows on specific collector and bus routes this week.
The city will be posting temporary no parking signs in targeted areas 24 hours before parking bans go into effect and residents must remove their cars before the scheduled time to avoid being ticketed or towed.
“I think everybody in the city would agree that the windrows have to go on the bus routes, so compliance is really important and we would prefer compliance as opposed to enforcement,” city spokesperson Laura McNabb told the Edmonton Journal.
In order for both cities to successfully clear troublesome roads and windrows the weather must cooperate, but so far the forecast looks positive.
Both southern and central Alberta will be lifted out of the weekend cold snap, with temperatures climbing above 0 C in Calgary Monday, and a high of -7 C forecast for Edmonton.
According to Environment Canada, the weather is expected to remain mild through the rest of the week and into the weekend.