Strathcona County announced changes to its snow removal plan earlier this month. 

Schools will now have the highest priority in the county, with crews clearing routes and student drop-off zones with 24 hours of snowfall. 

The second highest priority will fall on clearing all sidewalks and trails leading to public recreation facilities within two days. 

Among the areas most affected by the new plan include the county’s third priority area. 

Clearing of the 232 kilometers of hard-surface trails in the county will now have quicker service times, with the county clearing them within five days of snowfall instead of the previous eight days. 

Cody Thordarson, acting manager of transportation operations for Strathcona County, says the change was made after hearing from a variety of public sources.

“We heard that the overall timeline of eight days, which was our previous policy, was not meeting the needs of our community,” said Thordarson. 

There have also been some changes to thresholds on the clearing of urban roads. 

Crews will now clear some of the busier roads in the county after 15 centimeters of snowfall. Residential streets will be cleared after seven centimeters of compacted snow, this changes from 10 centimeters in the previous plan. 

Thordarson wants to remind residents to be aware of crews this winter. 

“Residents probably won’t see much change,” said Thordarson. “As always residents can expect our crews to be working 24/7 to enable safe travel as we continuously monitor conditions of the road to address snow and ice.” 

The budget for the winter maintenance plan has not increased even with these improved service times and residents should not expect any tax increases. 

A request for two more sidewalk and trail cleaning machines is expected to be brought to Strathcona County council sometime this Fall for consideration.