December 01, 2006 12:05 ET

Montreal's Snow Removal Efforts will Focus First and Foremost this Winter on Ensuring Pedestrian Safety and Accelerating Public Transit Services

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(CCNMatthews - Dec. 1, 2006) - Marcel Tremblay, member of the Executive Committee responsible for citizen services today announced initiatives that will make the sidewalks safer for pedestrians and help speed up public transit this winter all the while improving the dissemination of information to residents.

"We will deal resolutely with sidewalk conditions in view of improving services to residents," Mr. Tremblay said. "The public works directors of our 19 boroughs have been reviewing their operating procedures since mid-summer and we can count on them to assist us in this task. The directors are proposing strong measures to contend with such issues as major ice storms."

New equipment has, accordingly, been purchased or leased to proceed more effectively and quickly with the spreading of abrasive compounds. Some 40 new caterpillar-driven sidewalk clearing ploughs and tractors, for a total of 252 vehicles, will be deployed along 6,400 km of sidewalks during ice storms. A new type of abrasive spreader will serve to complete routes faster, with emphasis on sidewalks in the vicinities of hospitals, schools and daycare centre, as well as areas around bus shelters and subway stations.

The boroughs, moreover, have in certain cases been assured by their contractors that additional equipment will be provided. Daily inspections of the snow removal fleet are designed to keep breakdowns to a minimum. Municipal garages are committed to making the inevitable repairs as swiftly as possible so that the critical mass of vehicles required for snow removal operations can be kept in good working order. Some 50 production supervisors are also receiving training to better interpret the four weather forecasts they receive each day.

Mr. Tremblay also noted that the city's Direction du Capital humain has reminded its crews of the importance of protecting workers during snow removal operations by strictly applying safety directives. "The same appeal must be made to the public," said Mr. Tremblay. "We must be very careful to avoid accidents during such operations."

On the topic of public transit, Mr. Tremblay said: "We want to take very specific measures to promote the speed of public transit services particularly on the day of and the day following a storm. In conjunction with the Societe de transport de Montreal, we have agreed to place our emphasis on clearing and removing snow along six major arteries and in 13 specific zones to facilitate bus travel and to encourage residents to use public transit rather than their vehicles on the day of and the day after a storm."

Boulevard Henri-Bourassa will, for example, benefit from rapid snow removal operations from Autoroute 25 in Anjou to rue Berri in Ahuntsic-Cartierville. More than 90,000 people take the bus each weekday morning to connect to the subway line at Henri-Bourassa.

Other key arteries that have been targeted include large stretches of Notre-Dame, Sherbrooke and Cremazie streets and the full lengths of Rue Papineau and Boulevard Pie IX.

To provide better information to residents on travel conditions following heavy snowfalls, the city will provide two daily updates to the media on the progress of snow removal operations along key bridge access routes. These bulletins will be published in time for the morning and evening rush hours.

"Despite all our efforts," Mr. Tremblay said, "winter still requires cooperation from residents in the form of patience and caution until our crews are able to clear the sidewalks and roadways, observation of traffic control measures during snow removal operations, installation of winter tires to enhance safety and, most importantly, use of public transit services on the day of and the day after a storm."

Montreal will devote at least $120 million in 2006-2007 to snow removal operations. The city's average annual snowfall is 200 cm, which generally results in six major snow removal efforts.

Contact Information

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    Alain Charbonneau