It’s midnight and the sky is bright.
Heavy snowfall is forecasted to begin around 3am* and Chestermere’s road crews are on alert.
Around 4am, the on call operator, Maxwell Bergen, wakes up to check the roads. It’s just starting to accumulate so he calls his teammate, Brenda, and heads out the door.
Around 5am, Maxwell and Brenda arrive at the Public Works Yard and head inside for their boots and jackets. They make their way to the winter storage building, do a pre-trip inspection and start up the plows.
“Once our trucks are loaded, we head out and start on Chestermere Boulevard. We do at least two passes of this main artery to make sure it is wide enough for vehicles. It’s always the first priority,” says Maxwell.
At approximately 6am, after doing an initial run of Chestermere Boulevard and some of the main intersections leading onto it, the pair split up to tackle the other priority routes in the community.
Maxwell usually starts with the south west side of Chestermere first, aiming to clear roads like Rainbow Road, West Chestermere Drive, Merganser Drive and West Lakeview Road. Brenda tackles the priority routes in Westmere before they head to the east side of the lake.
At 7am on weekdays, the other roads crews will join them to widen primary roads and clear secondary streets.
With luck, the snow will stop and all the primary and secondary roadways will have been plowed by 9:30am. If the snow continues, the team settles in for long shifts and revisits the priority routes again
“We work hard to clear the streets quickly and put down a sand/ salt mix,” says Maxwell, “but we can’t put as much salt down as other communities because our storm drains flow into the lake. That makes de-icing a challenge.”
How you can help
Maxwell also adds that battling snow is a community effort. He suggests that there are a few things residents can do to help with the snow battle:
- Don’t pass snow plows. They are often putting down sand and salt that can impede your view.
- If possible, move your car off the street. The plows have big blades and weaving around cars makes it difficult to fully plow a street.
- Shovel snow onto your lawn, not the street. Maxwell says they try not to leave large ridges against driveways but sometimes there is nowhere else for the snow to go. If all residents help by shoveling their sidewalk snow onto their lawns, it makes the roads safer for all.
"Winter in Alberta is a challenge for everyone,” says Maxwell. “We take pride in our work and hope residents will work with us so we can all make it through winter safely.”
*This story is an example of how a snow day could progress. All snow days are different and routes may change. Please call Public Works at 403-207-2807 for an update during a specific event.