Snow-clearing in Abbotsford costs $55,000 a day

The city has an annual budget of $1.2 million to put plows, sanders and graders on the road during blasts of winter weather.

The City of Abbotsford had about 15 pieces of snow-clearing equipment operating around the clock last week.

The City of Abbotsford had about 15 pieces of snow-clearing equipment operating around the clock last week.

Last week’s snowfall had city workers on the roads 24 hours a day, dealing with the blast of winter weather.

“Basically we had about 15 pieces of equipment on the road – plows, sanders and graders – that were on basically 24-hour shifts from Friday (Jan. 13) to  to Friday (Jan. 20),” said Rob Isaac, Abbotsford’s director of wastewater, drainage and asset management.

He said the full-time effort cost about $55,000 a day. That translates to about one-third of the city’s $1.2 million annual snow-clearing budget.

“After Friday night we went back to on-call service … and now we’re back to a preventative response, the salt brine on the roads … to alleviate black ice.”

He termed it normal winter coverage.

While the winter storm closed schools and made driving a hazardous exercise, Isaac said there were no “serious” problems, “other than the snow drifts and the winds on Sumas Prairie.”

Even the sudden thaw did not cause the difficulties expected.

The city had been working with the residents of Clayburn Village, preparing sandbags in case of flooding, but it didn’t happen.

“No flooding, not that we’re aware of. The temperatures didn’t get too high so the snow melted slower.”

While the snow and extreme cold have been replaced by higher than normal temperatures – today’s (Tuesday) forecast is predicting rain and temperatures hitting 10 degrees Celsius and 12 degrees on Wednesday – there are still two full months of winter on the horizon.

The plows are back at the public works yard, receiving maintenance, and will be back on the roads when required.

Waste services:

Last week’s snowfall prevented many Abbotsford homes from receiving trash and recycling pickup service from the city. Any house that did not have garbage or recycling picked up will be allowed to place double the amount on the next normal day of service.