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Monday, March 20, 2006

New Snowfall Record for March - Still a Few Days Before Streets Cleared

According to CBC news, it will be 4 days before all the streets in Edmonton are plowed...

City officials in Edmonton are working as quickly as they can to clear snow after Saturday's late winter thumping that set a new snowfall record for March.

Most buses were on schedule by Monday but about 20 buses were caught up on unplowed residential routes in the north and south ends of the city. The LRT was running fine.

City officials relaxed the parking ban along designated snow-routes. Usually, parking is prohibited along major roadways so crews can clear the street right to the curb.

Cleaning crews are more concerned with getting traffic lanes cleared as soon as possible, said Barry Belcourt, of the City Transportation Department. The total cost of cleaning up could reach $2.5 million.

Broke 1967 record

The blizzard easily broke a 1967 record for the snow in March. That record had been a meagre 9 cm.

The snow clearing started off slowly. When the city put out a call for more equipment and operators, less than half the usual number showed up. They were already working elsewhere.

It could be four days before all residential routes are cleared, Belcourt said.

"If I was to take equipment and put it into residential, then there is no equipment to deal with the bus runs. So you would get out of the residential and you wouldn't be able to get out the bus runs to get to the main road," he said.

Snow brought out community

Not everyone was put out by winter's final desperate act to leave its mark.

On a CBC radio phone-in line, people reported all sorts of neighbourly moments brought out by having to shovel 22 inches of snow to get anywhere.

"I played in the snow all weekend. And I made some tunnels, and I went tobogganing. I made a fort. I love the snow!" said an exuberant girl named Alicia.

Another caller described an impromptu group effort to clean the streets the old fashioned way.

"In our neighbourhood, something surprising and encouraging happened sort of spontaneously. All of our neighbours that lived up and down our block helped each other in shovelling out the snow in front of street so that we could all have places to park and not get stuck."

Yet another female caller told how members of her co-op pulled together to shovel out. Many cars were pushed, laughs were had, while children played all around.

"I quite enjoyed the snowfall, and I think it was about time that we had one. Now if it will just go away so we'll have a good spring, that would be great."


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