Driv­ers stay safe through win­ter storm

The Drumheller Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Terri Hux­ley

The val­ley was trans­formed into a win­ter won­der­land Fri­day morn­ing, but by Fri­day evening, res­i­dents be­gan to won­der whether it was ever go­ing to stop.

Res­i­dents woke up to a blan­ket of snow cov­er­ing the val­ley on Novem­ber 3. How­ever as, the day pro­gressed the snow con­tin­ued to fall, with ar­eas see­ing more than a foot of ac­cu­mu­la­tions. De­spite the snow, Staff Sergeant Kevin Charles says that no one in the area was se­ri­ously in­jured on the road­ways.

“Peo­ple I think are slowly start­ing to re­al­ize that win­ter has hit with its full vengeance and are re­vert­ing back to their proper win­ter driv­ing habits, which means slow­ing down and tak­ing your time,” said Charles.

He says the RCMP re­sponded to a num­ber of fender ben­ders and mi­nor col­li­sions through­out the day, the most se­ri­ous was on the South Hill where a truck and trailer veered off the road.

Over­all, he said it wasn’t a very busy week­end as po­lice re­ceived over­all about 28 calls.

If res­i­dents weren’t dig­ging out their side­walks, they were dig­ging their neigh­bours’ ve­hi­cles. So­cial me­dia brought many Good Samar­i­tan sto­ries of peo­ple pitch­ing in where they could to sup­port those af­fected by the weather.

The town and Car­il­lion, the high­way main­te­nance con­trac­tor, worked to­gether to clear main road­ways and ac­cess points stretch­ing all the way from Nacmine to East Coulee.

Car­il­lion takes care of any ma­jor high­ways that run to and through Drumheller.

“They do all of the high­way stuff through town so 9, 56, 838, 575, 10, and 10X but they also have a whole re­gion right,” said Drumheller CAO Dar­ryl

Dro­homer­ski.

For the town, the snow re­moval pol­icy was up­dated on Fe­bru­ary 15 of this year.

“We have pri­or­ity streets we do so for in­stance there are some that are zero tol­er­ance like the down­town area where we plow or clean snow no mat­ter if we had one cen­time­ter or ten or twenty,” said Dro­homer­ski. “Then there’s oth­ers that we do based on the amount of snow we get.”

Once those roads are cleared, the crews di­rect their at­ten­tion to trou­bled res­i­den­tial streets. This can be seen as a large snow drift or an ob­sta­cle that is in­ter­rupt­ing the flow of traf­fic.

“The idea of the snow route pol­icy was to be able to give ev­ery­body a way out of their area so we do main streets and col­lec­tor streets ba­si­cally,” said Dro­homer­ski.

Car­il­lion was not able to clear the road­ways lead­ing to East Coulee and Wayne ar­eas un­til Sat­ur­day, which ul­ti­mately held back Town plows from reach­ing those ar­eas as well.

“So you can’t go to clean East Coulee on Fri­day if you can’t ac­tu­ally get to East Coulee,” Dro­homer­ski re­it­er­ated.

En­vi­ron­ment Canada pre­dicted about five cen­time­tres to­tal in Drumheller.

“No one pre­dicted this snow on Fri­day,” Dro­homer­ski said. “I know I had a phone call at five o’clock on Fri­day from En­vi­ron­ment Canada and the guy asked me how much snow we had be­cause they had no idea.”

“It was one of those things that kind of sur­prised ev­ery­body,” said Dro­homer­ski.

mailphoto by Pa­trick Ko­lafa

Af­ter a rel­a­tively sea­sonal au­tumn, res­i­dents were re­minded of Mother Na­ture’s fury Fri­day as a thick layer of snow cov­ered the val­ley.

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