With the possibility of snow on the horizon, City of Delta snowplows and salt trucks are ready to answer the call.
Environment Canada on Friday forecast periods of wet snow mixed with rain during the day Saturday (Dec. 4) and rain or snow Sunday night and Monday, as well as overnight Tuesday and Wednesday, with overnight temperatures hovering near freezing for the next week.
A report to council on Monday, Nov. 22 laid out the city’s 2021/2022 winter preparedness measures, including updated maps showing priority routes for snowplows.
Under the city’s Snow and Ice Control Policy, roads are divided into three priority groups to ensure major routes get cleared first.
Public transit routes, major collectors, select school access roadways and some roads in hilly areas are given first priority, with brining, salting, sanding and snowplowing carried out as long as poor conditions exist. Overtime for municipal employees working these routes is automatic, so they will get done no matter what.
Once conditions on first-priority routes are under control, crews and resources will be redirected to other locations. Second-priority roads including select secondary through-roads in residential areas, rural roads and school bus routes will be dealt with next. Overtime may be scheduled to complete secondary priorities, but is not guaranteed.
Minor residential streets and cul-de-sacs are given third priority, with work carried out on a site-specific basis, usually at the request of the residents and normally after inspection by a supervisor. Work on these areas is carried out during normal working hours only.
As conditions deteriorate, crews will be moved back onto first-priority routes.
The city has also set up an emergency response protocol phone line for police, fire and ambulance to request site-specific snow clearing to provide access during emergency situations. Salting trucks can also be diverted from their regular duties to assist with requests from emergency services.
To report a snow/ice concern, residents can call 604-946-4141 or submit a “Talk to Delta” form online at delta.ca/contact-us or via the TalkDelta app, available on iTunes and Google Play.
Both the Ladner and North Delta works yards are fully stocked with road salt — 1,000 metric tonnes and 1,500 metric tonnes, respectively — and the city has a contract with Mainroad Contracting (the company responsible for clearing snow and ice on Lower Mainland highways) to provide up to 3,000 tonnes more, for a total salt availability of 5,500 metric tonnes.
The report notes city crews typically use between 2,500 and 3,000 tonnes of road salt in an average season, and up to 4,500 metric tonnes during extreme winters.
In addition to road salt, Delta engineering crews have the ability to make their own salt brine, which is used to pre-wet priority routes in anticipation of snow and ice. The city has two specialized brine trucks which are used city-wide, with special priority given to streets in Ladner’s downtown core where conventional snow and ice control vehicles have experienced difficulties plowing and salting in the past.
In addition to the brine trucks, Delta has a fleet of 16 trucks outfitted with salters and plows, as well as 26 tractors, loaders, mowers and RTVs, and six 28” snow throwers. All of Delta’s snow and ice equipment has been inspected and serviced for the upcoming season.
The city has a winter road conditions hotline (604-952-3820) that will be updated every four hours with the current weather situation and Delta’s response level. This information will also be available through Delta’s Facebook and Twitter pages.
How to help
The City of Delta offers residents the following tips to crews deliver the best service possible:
• If possible, do not park your vehicle on the street or in your cul-de-sac. An empty street makes the passage of snowplows and salt spreaders much easier.
• Do not attempt to stop the plow truck operators. They follow specifically laid out routes and are under the direction of the city’s engineering department. Please direct all requests, comments and concerns directly to the engineering department at 604-946-3260 during business hours or to Delta police at 604-946-4411 after business hours.
• Walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic. On roadways where there are no sidewalks or the sidewalks are impassable due to snow, give the snowplows as much room as possible. Our drivers are courteous, but the equipment they are operating is large and complex.
• Never shovel snow from sidewalks and driveways onto the street. The snowplows always push the snow to the side of the road. Accordingly, this may result in snow being pushed back onto your driveway rather than having it plowed away. Pushing the snow from your driveway onto the road will add snow and ice to the road, creating a hazardous situation.
• Pile snow shoveled from your driveway on the right side facing the street. This reduces the chance of having the plow pile the snow over your driveway entrance after you have shoveled it out. Our drivers attempt to leave clear entrance to driveway whenever possible; however, this is not always possible following heavy snowfall.
• Please shovel any catch basins if they are in front of your home. Melting snow can drain into the storm system and this will reduce the chance of flooding and icing in the street as well as the chance of flooding on your property.
• Garbage cans and recycling should not be placed on the road. Keep them on the sidewalk or boulevard and remove them as soon as possible after they have been emptied.
Commercial property and business owners are responsible for clearing snow from sidewalks located adjacent to their property within 24 hours, or could face a $150 fine. Residential property owners are requested to clear snow from sidewalks bordering their properties, but are not mandated to do so.
Be a Snow Angel
The Snow Angels program is available again this year to assist seniors and those with physical disabilities who need a helping hand with driveway and sidewalk snow clearing. In North Delta the program is based out of the Kennedy Seniors Recreation Centre, and residents needing the service are encouraged to call 604-594-2717.
Anyone interested in volunteering to be a Snow Angel can contact Delta’s volunteer coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or 604-946-3288. Volunteers must have their own shovel and transportation.
In the event of hazardous conditions due to snow and ice, residents can expect delays in garbage and recycling collection throughout the city. If this occurs and your collection day is missed, the contractor will either attempt to make the collection later in the day or the following day. Please ensure your containers are not buried in the snow.
If the contractor is not able to access your garbage and/or recycling containers, they will be collected on your next scheduled collection day.
For more information, please call the city’s engineering department at 604-946-3260.
Tips for pedestrians and drivers
The city also offers the following tips to avoid falls during winter weather:
•Wear well-insulated, waterproof boots with low heels. They should be lightweight with tread, traction slip-ons or ice-picks.
• Expect a slippery surface.
• Never wear indoor shoes outside.
• Shuffle slightly so both feet are down flat on the ground as you walk. This keeps your base of support low and stable.
• If you have a walker, buy slip-ups or traction covers for the legs (it’s like having snow tires on your car).
As well, the city offers the following tips for drivers:
• Have winter tires on your vehicle
• Tune up and winterize your vehicle
• Clean snow and ice off your vehicle to ensure your headlights and windows are clear.
• Give yourself extra time to reach your destination.
• Reduce your speed and turn on your headlights.
• Drive defensively.
• Leave extra distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you.
• Leave at least 50 metres between your vehicle and Delta’s snow clearing equipment.
For more on Delta’s snow and ice preparedness, visit delta.ca/services/roads/snow-ice-preparedness.