Saanich uses a mixture of about 23 per cent salt and 86 per cent water to prep the roads for snow. (District of Saanich/Twitter)

Saanich roads doused in more than 300 tonnes of salt during snowstorm

Crews cleared roads around the clock during the mid-January storm

Saanich spent upwards of 320 tonnes of salt during the recent snowstorm, according to the Saanich Engineering Department.

While residents scrambled to dig their boots and parkas out of storage, District crews were working to take care of the roads 24 hours a day.

The District has 10 vehicles that can be equipped to manage snow and ice when necessary, explained Harley Machielse, director of engineering.

READ ALSO: Speeding Alaska driver tells VicPD police chief he knows how to drive in the snow

Before a snowstorm hits, Saanich crews work to prepare the roads for the impending snow and ice by spreading an anti-icing brine on the surface of the roads. In ideal conditions, the brine – a solution of salt and water – works to keep the roads free of ice for about three days, Machielse said.

The brine was also used to prep the salt for the roads as it often froze in the truck. Wetting the salt helps it activate faster and help it stick to the road, a District spokesperson explained.

Once the snow hit the ground, staff worked around the clock to clear and salt roads on a schedule based on priority, Machielse said. Emergency routes must be cleared within the first 24 hours. Then, crews focus on major routes, important bus routes, steep residential hills, bridges and municipal entrances and parking lots.

READ ALSO: Hazardous black ice coats Greater Victoria streets

Sidewalks, on the other hand, must be cleared by property owners according to Saanich bylaws. Machielse was glad to see residents complying and removing snow from the sidewalks near their homes.

Municipal staff are grateful that residents were patient while routes were cleared, Machielse said. He emphasized that crews worked hard to keep the roads safe during what he hopes will be the last storm of the winter.

As the snow begins to melt, residents are asked to help keep nearby storm drains clear so the water has somewhere to go. Sandbags are available at the public works yard for free.


@devonscarlett
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devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

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