When the snow falls unto Humboldt’s streets, the city focuses on the highways, downtown core and emergency routes first.
Those streets are the first priority in a plowing system that has four tiers.
“We have to do the majority of Priority 1s during the night time, as there’s too many vehicles otherwise,” said Peter Bergquist, Humboldt’s public works director. “It’s a matter of trying to stage it so we hit it at the right time when the snowfall ends versus when we go plow.”
If all goes well, plowing begins at midnight, with the snow piled on the centre of the road. The next morning, at midnight, those piles are then removed.
“That’s with everything going as planned,” Bergquist said, adding larger snowfalls take more time.
Plowing on Priority 1 streets begins after the accumulation of five centimetres of dense snow. If the snow is light and fluffy enough to pack down well, then it’s not as large of a concern for the city.
The city has a grader at its disposal and contracts another grader. It also has a sidewalk plowing machine and a loader with a blade that clears drifts and other inconveniences.
Priority 2 streets are those that allow access to schools and businesses. Like Priority 1s, they are cleared with
five centimetres of dense snow.
For both of the top two priorities, the goal is to have them cleared within two days after a snowfall.
Priority 3 streets, the major streets through residential areas, are cleared after 7.5 centimetres of dense snow. The goal is to complete them one business day after Priority 1s and 2s.
All other streets in town are cleared after 10 centimetres of dense snow, but are only cleared down to approximately five centimetres of packed snow on the streets.
As for sidewalks, the city focuses on clearing downtown first, highways and routes to schools second, and trails third. For the ones near city streets, the city aims to have granular material on the sidewalks within 48 hours of it refreezing.
Residential sidewalks aren’t plowed, nor is there a requirement to keep them clear. Because of this, said Bergquist, the city is able to pile snow on the side of the streets, keeping them more clear than places that clear residential sidewalks.
Bergquist encouraged people with problems to contact the city.
“Anybody who has concerns should call us or use the app because we definitely want to know if we missed something,” he said.
Then the city will determine if it’s a problem they need to deal with, or if falls upon a private owner.
Priority 1 streets are purple, Priority 2 are yellow, Priority 3 are green and roads dealt with by Saskatchewan Highways are blue.