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Council approves pilot program to improve resident accessibility for winter and maintain cost-savings

With a week of plus 30-degree temperatures, snow and ice may be the last thing on people’s minds. But, City Council has approved a new pilot program for the upcoming winter season.

Thanks to community feedback, the City’s Transportation Operations team put forward an amendment to the Phase Two Snow and Ice Control program. The amendment aims to assist residents on snow routes who need an extra hand.

“Since we started plowing snow to the right along snow routes, residents who face mobility or accessibility challenges have had a hard time navigating the windrow at the end of their driveway or curb,” says Juliane Ruck, Transportation Operations Manager. “The pilot subscription helps to provide a clearing so these residents can have access to their property if they can’t remove the snow themselves.”

Mayor Blaine Hyggen says the pilot program offers a way to balance the needs of affected residents with keeping the financial gains made in adjusting the winter snow-clearing service levels.

“We heard loud and clear from residents along snow routes this past winter that for some, particularly seniors, having a build-up of snow at the end of the driveway was difficult to deal with,” says Hyggen. “This pilot program will offer a way to help those who need it, while ensuring we still see some cost-savings with continuing to plow snow to the right of the road.” 

As the City enters the third and final phase of changing the way it manages snow and ice on roadways through winter, the realized cost-savings have been better than originally anticipated.

Before the changes took place in 2022, the City only plowed along approximately 205 km of road around Lethbridge. Major residential roadways saw limited snow clearing. When plows did get to residential areas, snow was removed by pushing it to the centre of the road and removing it using several resources and equipment. 

Following the Phase Two changes, snow is now cleared along an additional 81 kms including residential roads that were very rarely plowed. These roads are declared snow routes when plowing commences. This improves the roads for more people during their winter commute, while saving the taxpayers too.

“It costs approximately 25 times more to windrow and remove it than it does to plow to the right of the road. The advantages are more motorists will enjoy a clear, rut-free commute and we save approximately $500,000 every time we get a significant snowfall in the city,” says Ruck. “We know residents and businesses who reside on a snow route are faced with the inconvenience of shoveling more snow a few times per season. But we also want to maintain fiscal responsibility for all taxpayers, while continuing to clear as many roads as possible.”

The windrow subscription program will be piloted for the upcoming winter season. It is open to residents who live along the snow route network and experience challenges clearing snow from their property.

The City will notify eligible residents in the fall. Hand-delivered postcards will be dropped off at each home along the snow route network outlining the details of the program and how to sign up. Residents are unable to sign up for the program until they receive this information as the program is being finalized following Council’s approval.

Following the conclusion of the 2024/2025 winter season, feedback will be sought from those residents who signed up and the findings will be reported back to City Council for review.

To learn more about the City’s changes to winter operations to roads can visit or connect with 311 for more information.

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