City Strives to Keep Neighbourhood Roads Passable
The winter of 2013/2014 has brought with it everything ranging from heavy snowfalls, freezing rains, several freeze/thaw cycles and even a resurgence of potholes, and the rapidly changing conditions have meant that crews have been working around the clock for more than three months straight. Unfortunately, the weather has also resulted in conditions on neighbourhood streets and alleys that continue to frustrate and inconvenience citizens.
“Since January 1, 2014, we’ve received almost 12,000 calls via 311 about conditions on neighbourhood roads and alleys,” said Bob Dunford, Director, Roadway Maintenance, City of Edmonton. “We know that people are frustrated and we take those calls seriously. Conditions being what they are, however, we have to set priorities and right now, that is to ensure that neighbourhood roads are passable for local traffic.”
Although the most recent neighbourhood blading cycle has been completed, there remain some problem areas where the crews are still working to restore basic mobility and access. Roadways also started an alleyway blading cycle to smooth ice and snow to the maximum 5 cm base in the driving lane; in some cases, several passes by crews may be required to make alleys passable.
“It’s important to note that restoring a road or alley to the level of being ‘passable’ doesn’t mean that it won’t still be rough or have a higher level of ice and snow at curbside,” said Dunford. “We know that won’t be satisfactory for many people, but we have to focus our resources on restoring basic access.”
Adding to the backlog is a high volume of repeat calls to 311, as well as calls about roads that are passable but are bumpy. “Calling more than once about the same problem simply adds to the backlog in the districts and further delays our response time in priority areas,” continued Dunford. “We divide those dispatched calls amongst our foremen in each district, and they are sent out to evaluate and assess whether or not action is required. If the City did not respond as quickly as you believe we should have, it may be that we’ve determined no further work is needed to maintain basic mobility, or that we have urgent priorities which must be addressed first.”
Citizens are asked not to call 311 if:
The driving lane on their neighbourhood road is passable (even if it requires that motorists must slow down in order to navigate safely)
If the windrow left behind in their driveway is 30 cm or less
For windrows left at curbside on either residential roads or collector/bus routes
If a problem has been previously reported
Citizens should report the following situations to 311:
Water is pooling due to obstructed drains
A vehicle cannot safely navigate the driving lane on a neighbourhood road
Access to a designated handicapped zone or curbside ramps is blocked
A windrow exceeding 30 cm is left in front of a driveway
Snow from clearing efforts is blocking access to a sidewalk
“Our crews are working as hard as they can to keep neighbourhood roads and alleyways passable for residents, and we are asking citizens to help us by identifying those areas where basic service has not been restored. We understand the level of irritation that citizens are experiencing, and ask for their patience as we tend to the backlog of complaints and concerns raised so far this winter season,” concluded Dunford.