Thunder Bay Crews Clear Streets for Safety

Snowbanks have to be ploughed out into the street and then huge snowblowers remove the snow into dump trucks.
Snowbanks have to be ploughed out into the street and then huge snowblowers remove the snow into dump trucks.

Clearing snowbanks in downtown Thunder Bay helps businesses and makes the streets safer
Clearing snowbanks in downtown Thunder Bay helps businesses and makes the streets safer

Snowbank Removal Makes Streets Safer

THUNDER BAY – Thunder Bay City Crews have been kept busy over the past weeks dealing with several snowfalls and the aftermath of cleaning up the snow. There are 1994 lane km of paved roadway and 205 lane km of gravel roads in the city along with 449 km of sidewalks.

With cold weather and snow the City faces a number of challenges. For example at -15c the work of the snow melting chemicals stop melting the ice and snow and roads become slippery.

One of the problems facing residents and business owners in Thunder Bay have been the massive snowbanks across the city. In Westfort, the Fort William Business Zone, the Bay and Algoma Neighbourhood, and the Waterfront District those tall snowbanks have made it hard for customers to get into businesses.

Clearing Huge Snowbanks

Snowbanks have to be ploughed out into the street and then huge snowblowers remove the snow into dump trucks.
Snowbanks have to be ploughed out into the street and then huge snowblowers remove the snow into dump trucks.

Additionally for drivers, it has been hard to see over those tall snowbanks.

Removal of the snowbanks, also removes some of the litter and hazards that usually gather in the snowbanks and make for a messy downtown in the spring.

Mark Smith, the City Development Manager states, “Snow bank removal is required in these areas to restore the traffic capacity of the roadway. The work should take approximately 2 weeks to complete, depending on winter weather events during this period”.

Smith adds, “It is important to understand that if, prior to commencement or during snow removal operation, a ‘winter event’ occurs, that is to say we get more snow, that requires the plowing of streets, snow bank removal work will be suspended. Resources utilized in the snow removal operation are needed to perform plowing operations. In this case, snow removal operations would resume after all plowing priorities have been addressed”.

Clean Streets and Sidewalks

The results of a nights work by Thunder Bay Snow Clearing Crews. Safer streets and sidewalks
The results of a nights work by Thunder Bay Snow Clearing Crews. Safer streets and sidewalks

Most major cities remove snowbanks from key business areas on a regular basis throughout the winter. The issues of liability as well as supporting local businesses is seen as key. Removal of the snowbanks in Thunder Bay will run at about $28,000.

In early December, Mayor Hobbs, City Managers Tim Commisso, Darrel Matson and Roads Manager Brad Adams met with Fort William We have a Neighbourhood to Build’s Shelby Ch’ng. NetNewsLedger also attended. The meeting was to discuss concerns in the downtown Fort William Business District. Snow clearing and snow bank removal was one of the topics discussed.

The Fort William Business Improvement Area (BIA) along with other BIAs in the City, the Bay and Algoma BIA, and the Waterfront District BIA have also met with city officials to make their concerns heard. Snow removal has been a concern raised with the city.

The program of removal of snowbanks has be the result of those efforts.