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Measures taken to ensure clear roads

Grimsby roads will be a little safer this winter season, thanks to an additional plow services (Grimsby Council)

To keep up with the town’s increasing road lengths, the town will be adding an eighth zone.

Drivers are limited to 13 hours on the road, within any 21-hour period, which makes completing the routes difficult, especially after being hit with a winter storm.

The road department’s current full time staff consist of one foreman and 13 staff, with 14 designated snow routes to cover. This has been accomplished by utilizing up to three Water and Wastewater staff to partially fill in as needed. When they are not available or when regular staff are off sick this method becomes difficult. With an additional plow and zone added, the town is now in the process of hiring an additional road staff member to keep up with the work load.

Alderman Nick DiFlavio is pleased to see an extra plowman in the works, he said at the council meeting on Monday.

“We have been running a tight ship, but if someone gets sick you can’t plan for that and if it happens during a snow storm having just one extra person doesn’t give a lot of flexibility, but at least it gives a bit,” he said, adding that he wants to ensure public safety. “Unfortunately you can’t shut the snow off, and so we need to have the staff to handle it.”

Mayor Bob Bentley said staff will be in the process of hiring the additional staff person in the near future.

The financial impact of adding one additional winter maintenance zone on the 2014 budget would be a one-time $190,000 from the Capital Equipment Reserve for the purchase of a new snow plow unit, equipment operating costs, plus one additional full time roads department staff at $46,000 a year plus benefits.

Current staff and road supervisors will accommodate the needs this winter season, until a new staff person has been hired and trained. The town is currently in the process of hiring the staff person.

The Town of Grimsby has 355 lane kilometres of road and 70 kilometres of sidewalk that require winter maintenance. Keep the following winter tips handy this winter season:

* Ensure children do not play in snow banks along the roadways or sidewalks

* Tunnels and forts in the roadside snow banks are dangerous to other streets. Keep your vehicles off the road during a snow event and 48 hours after the storm event for cleanup operations. Plows will not continue if the operator cannot safely manoeuvre between cars parked on the street. The driver will return, but this may not be until the next day.

* Parked cars slow down clearing operations and delay response

* Parking enforcement continues during snow events and tickets may be issued to vehicles parked on the road.

* If the snow plow has already been on your street and plowed around parked cars, there will be a mound of snow left around the parked vehicles. Once those parked cars have left, the plow will return to clear the snow behind, but this will not be during the snow event and may not occur until the next day or more.

* The town will not clean out snow that has been deposited by the plows into driveways. When you shovel your driveway at the road edge, place the snow at the ‘downstream’ side of the driveway so the plow will take the snow away rather than push back into your driveway.

* All snow plow routes have a start and end location. Your street may be at the beginning, middle or end of a route which may be up to 12 hours to complete after the storm stops. There are different plows for different routes, and depending on the street, your street may not be scheduled to be plowed until the end of a plow’s route.

* Placing snow or ice is a violation under the Highway Traffic Act. Do not shovel, push, snow plow or deposit snow on the roadway, shoulders or sidewalks.

* Closing an escarpment access road may occur during a winter storm. Due to their extreme steepness, there are times during a storm when staff can no longer maintain these access roads in a safe condition. Drivers are strongly advised not to attempt to use these roads when they are closed. Mountain Street is an alternate road that is maintained constantly by the Region of Niagara.

For more helpful snow storm tips, visit the town’s website www.grimsby.ca

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