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