When the snow starts falling, not all Surrey roads will get plowed immediately.
Instead, the City of Surrey splits its roads into three priority groups to ensure major routes get cleared first.
There are “first-priority” roads in the city – key arteries that are used by large numbers of drivers. They include main roads, bus routes and roads with steep hills.
Roads fronting and/or leading to schools and long-term care facilities are also included.
While “second-priority" roads are remaining arterial and collector routes. These include local connector roads in residential areas.
The final roads are classed as “third-priority,” and cleared last. These routes will only be maintained after all first and second priority routes are completed and driving conditions are deemed to be safe on those priority routes. The general manager of engineering uses his discretion in determining if third priority work is required.
In the event that bad weather conditions return during clearing of second and third priority routes, resources and equipment will revert back to focusing solely on first priority routes.
In addition to plowing, the city also uses an anti-icing spray prior to snowfall, which includes applying a brine solution that dries on roads with the leftover salt working immediately when snow begins to fall or when freezing temperatures occur. This approach effectively reduces or slows down the accumulation of snow and ice on treated pavement surfaces.
See the map above, or click here for a more high-resolution image that viewers can zoom in on.
Click here for more information on the city's snow clearing procedures.
Rob Costanzo, Surrey's engineering operations manager, said for the past several years, the city has budgeted $3.5 million annually for snow and ice control.
"The budget is leveraged to cover costs such as salt supply, snow plowing, salt spreading and anti-icing operations," he explained. "Our winter seasons have been relatively mild for the past several years which has resulted in our not expending our entire $3.5 million allocated for snow and ice control. Unexpended funds are placed in an emergency reserve which we draw from if required to deal with severe weather events."
Costanzo said the last harsh weather season was in late 2008 and early 2009.
"During that winter season that city expended over three times its annual budget causing the city to leverage its emergency funds."
As per Surrey's bylaw, snow clearing on sidewalks is the responsibility of the adjacent property owner.
"We ask that residents clear their sidewalks as soon as possible following a snowfall," said Costanzo. "In addition, residents are reminded to not shovel snow onto the sidewalk or roadway but rather pile it on their lawn."