Cleanup after winter storm to cost city $4M
Chris Fox and Joshua Freeman, cp24.com
Published Saturday, February 9, 2013 12:00PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, February 9, 2013 7:44PM EST
The cleanup from the biggest winter storm to hit the city in more than five years will cost about $4 million and last well into the evening, officials told CP24 Saturday.
The storm dumped about 26 centimetres of snow on the city between Thursday night and late Friday afternoon, burying both main arteries and side streets in plenty of the white stuff.
According to Director of Transportation Services Peter Noehammer, city crews were out throughout the night and most main arteries have now been cleared, however some side streets are still snow covered.
“We did our best yesterday to get one round of plowing done, but as you can imagine there was still a lot of snow that came down after the plows went by and it almost looks as if the plow was not even there in some places,” Noehammer told CP24 Saturday morning. “We are out again today on the side streets and we will be plowing into this evening.”
At the peak of the cleanup effort Friday night about 1,100 pieces of snow removal equipment were deployed.
That number is now down to about 700, with the focus expected to shift to salting roads and sidewalks and eliminating snowbanks that pose a visibility problem by trucking excess snow to one of three salt depots.
As the cleanup continues, residents are being urged to park their vehicles on their driveway or in their garage and to make sure they are not shovelling snow onto the roadway.
"After we have done the final cleanup on the roads, we will be putting down a round of salt just to get the bare pavement back and with the sun helping out today that should be very effective," Noehammer said.
The cleanup is expected to cost the city close to $4 million of its $82 million snow removal budget.
If your street has not been plowed you can report it to the city by dialing 311.
OPP lift advisory
During the course of the storm Ontario Provincial Police said they responded to about 350 collisions in the Greater Toronto Area.
That prompted a warning to drivers to stay off the roads, however that advisory was lifted early Saturday morning.
“It is not very often that we tell people to stay home, but we are right now,” OPP Const. Dave Woodford told CP24 at the time. “It has become very treacherous out there and we don’t want people to get hurt or involved in a fatal motor vehicle collision.”
Though the majority of the accidents did not result in serious injuries, one three-vehicle crash near Pickering did claim the life of a 49-year-old man Friday morning.
A single-vehicle accident in the eastbound lanes of Highway 401 near Prescott also resulted in the death of one person.
Significant airport delays
While the weather has cleared and Toronto is enjoying the calm after the storm, significant delays continue to plague travellers at Pearson International Airport.
As of 7 p.m., about 30.3 per cent of all arriving flights and 18 per cent of all departing flights scheduled for today had already been cancelled with numerous delays also reported.
Air Canada said Saturday that a large number of flights are full and advised people not to go to Pearson unless they have a confirmed flight.
Those numbers are still an improvement over Friday when the worst of the storm, coupled with a computer glitch in the airport’s de-icing equipment, caused 50 per cent of flights to be cancelled.
In the U.S., where the same storm walloped the east coast, more than 5,300 flights were reported to be cancelled Saturday.
More messy weather on the way
Even as the city continues to dig out, more messy weather could be on the way soon.
Environment Canada issued a special weather statement Saturday afternoon saying that rain and freezing rain could hit much of southern Ontario starting Sunday night as a low pressure system moves in from Colorado.
“A warm front will bring a mixed bag of precipitation across southern Ontario Sunday night into Monday morning,” Environment Canada said in its statement.
Rain is expected to begin in Windsor early Sunday evening and then spread east across southwestern Ontario.
The same system could bring freezing rain to the GTA for several hours Sunday evening, before turning to rain as the temperature warms up overnight. A high of 6 C is expected for Monday.
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