Montreal begins carting away record snowfall
Published Wednesday, December 30, 2015 11:54AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, December 30, 2015 6:44PM EST
Montreal was hit with 39.2 centimetres of snow in its first major snowfall of the season, and as always, after the snow fall comes the problem of carting it away.
The major snow removal operations began Wednesday morning. The city says removal will be underway in every borough by 7 p.m. The operation will cost around $20 million.
The city announced its new snow removal policy, an attempt to harmonize the cleanup across all 19 boroughs, in August.
The first priority is the city’s main arteries, busy commercial streets, priority bus routes, reserved lanes, hospital entrances and very narrow streets. Then the operation begins on smaller streets, other bus routes, and finally local streets and industrial areas.
About 3,000 city employees will be involved in carting the snow away. Their mandatory 36-hour break will begin Dec. 31 at 7 p.m. and end Jan. 2 at 7 a.m.
The city says the suspension of blue collar workers from earlier this month won’t affect snow removal.
The most oft-cited impediment to snow removal is cars that are in the way, so residents are being asked to download the Info Neige app or check out the website, which shows the progress of snow-clearing operations and tells you where and when you can park on the street.
"When we have to tow away a car, this is a major stallblock for us because the convoy comes to a complete hault," said city spokesperson Jacques-Alain Lavallee.
While the app is supposed to provide real-time updates on snow removal, some are finding the information isn't always accurate.
"We're adjusting. The info is updated as quickly as possible but we've just started the operation," Lavallee said.
The city says 5,700 free parking spaces are available to drivers across the city for when they can't park on the street.
Tuesday's snowfall set a record for Dec. 29. The previous record of 30.5 centimetres was set in 1954.
Snow removal trucks cart away snow in Montreal Dec. 30, 2015.
People clear snow from around their cars in Montreal Wednesday, December 30, 2015 following the first major storm of winter in the region. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes