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Spring 2014: rutted roads, flood concerns

By: Darren MacDonald - Sudbury Northern Life

 | Mar 26, 2014 - 12:33 PM |
Heavy snowfall this winter, and persistently cold weather through most of this month, have created ruts in many sidestreets in Greater Sudbury – and more challenges for residents and city crews alike. File photo.

Heavy snowfall this winter, and persistently cold weather through most of this month, have created ruts in many sidestreets in Greater Sudbury – and more challenges for residents and city crews alike. File photo.

Heavy snow, cold weather a challenge to residents, city crews

Heavy snowfall this winter, and persistently cold weather through most of this month, have created ruts in many sidestreets in Greater Sudbury – and more challenges for residents and city crews alike.

Meeting Tuesday evening, several city councillors said they've received calls about the condition of the streets, where uneven melting and refreezing have created cavernous ruts across roadways.

“I had one particular caller, she calls me Andrew,” said Ward 6 Coun. André Rivest. “She said, 'Andrew, could you send the Zamboni over to do our street?' ”


Heavy snowfall this winter, and persistently cold weather through most of this month, have created ruts in many sidestreets in Greater Sudbury – and more challenges for residents and city crews alike.

Meeting Tuesday evening, several city councillors said they've received calls about the condition of the streets, where uneven melting and refreezing have created cavernous ruts across roadways.

“I had one particular caller, she calls me Andrew,” said Ward 6 Coun. André Rivest. “She said, 'Andrew, could you send the Zamboni over to do our street?' ”

Joking aside, Ward 9 Coun. Doug Craig said people with mobility issues are finding rutted roads a barrier to getting around. People in motorized wheelchairs, for example, have major problems trying to cross the street.

“With the kind of ruts on the roads in our city now, it's simply not safe,” Craig said. “You can't go anywhere. Your wheelchair doesn't go, and you're stuck there.”
Ward 5 Coun. Ron Dupuis said flooding is also a concern, with so much snow and ice still remaining, and with much warmer temperatures ahead.

“I know I'm not the only one (getting calls) in regards to the ruts in subdivisions and the streets,” Dupuis said. “Also because of the huge amount of snow, there could be a quick melt and we may have some drainage issues.

“We already have some in the New Sudbury portion of my ward,” he added, at the intersection of Sunnybrae Avenue and Alexander Street.

“I was there on the weekend, because I received a lot of calls, and I can tell you that there were some issues. So we really need to know that the ditches are going to be cleaned, that water will be flowing properly – if the spring ever comes.”

Roads director David Shelsted said crews have been clearing out ditches since late February, as they do each year, to minimize flooding problems. But stubbornly cold weather and heavy snow this month is working against them.

“As you know, it melts, then it freezes and we have to go back and re-clean those areas,” Shelsted said.

There are spotters who work around the clock keeping an eye out for problem areas and dealing with problems as they arise.

“Obviously, we can't get to every ditch in the city” but are focusing on “key drainage areas,” he added.

“We will go send drainage crews out when we see the water backing up. We've been ongoing, doing winter ditching. As for the amount of snow and ice, we're hoping for a slow melt, but it's not for us to decide.”

It's a busy time of year for the public works department. In addition to drainage issues and the rutted roads, there has been a near record-amount of watermain breaks this month, a problem that could extend into April if it doesn't warm up soon.

Ward 4 Coun. Evelyn Dutrisac said she's also had many calls about the roads recently, and she thanked staff for quickly responding.

“We're having some tough times, but they're doing their best,” Dutrisac said. “I've had several calls about the ruts, with people getting stuck in the middle of the road.”

Shelsted said crews have been out trying to deal with the ruts for weeks and are making progress.

“We're on a continual program, and hopefully we'll get to your area soon.”

Infrastructure GM Tony Cecutti said they've been able to deal with ruts on residential roads fairly well, but some streets are problematic.

“For the most part, we can go out there and deal with the problems as the calls come in,” Cecutti said. “We've been using our loaders and our snow plows with the blade at the front. But what we really need is some mild weather – something above -20, so as it's turning to slush, we can go in and scrape it out of there.

“The exception to that are the laneways, which are very challenging, because we can't go down there. The lanes are too narrow to put a grader on them.”

Whenever there is warmer weather, areas of the road already grooved to tire tracks get much deeper, then refreeze, creating most of the problems.

“You've got eight to 12 inches of snowpack, so it's substantially thick,” Cecutti said. “Our graders are out there working and we'll get to them as we can.”
Darren MacDonald

Darren MacDonald

Staff Writer

@Darrenmacd

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