MONTREAL—With hundreds of streets and sidewalks still resembling a winter wonderland, the City of Montreal confirmed on Saturday that snow-clearing after Thursday’s record storm would take longer than expected.

First planned to be finished in four days, the clean up will be delayed with crews standing down for 36 hours from New Year’s Eve to Jan. 2 due to provincial labour laws. The city is planning to have all streets cleared within nine days of the storm by the morning rush-hour of Jan. 7.

With 45-centimeters already on the ground, snow removal was being complicated as an additional 5-centimetres fell on Saturday afternoon. According to the city, unless the rate of snowfall accelerated to 10-centimetres per hour, crews would not need to be diverted from snow-clearing to plowing.

According to Montreal spokesman Michel Frenette, 12 per cent of the city’s streets had been cleared by Saturday morning. That 12 per cent figure represents clearing one side of the city’s major arteries, a level of snow-clearing the city hopes to have doubled by Saturday night.

Over 3,000 city workers have been working since the storm hit to scoop and truck away snow. All boroughs are currently working to clear snow, including the Plateau-Mont-Royal, which controversially stopped all snow-clearing during weekends last year to save money.

Fenette credited the city’s citizens for respecting orange No Parking signs during snow-clearing operations. Towing was “less than average” during plowing on Friday, with only 300 cars towed as compared to an average of 800 nightly during previous work.

To help citizens, Montreal has set aside 5,700 free overnight parking spots for citizens throughout the island.

The entire snow-clearing operation is expected to cost $25 million out of an annual budget of $150 million to remove the white stuff.