Clearing nearly 50cm of snow that fell during a major winter storm in the Greater Toronto Area last January cost the city of Mississauga nearly $2 million, according to a report released by city council.
The storm, which occurred Jan. 16-17, dropped nearly 45 cm in Mississauga over an 18-hour period.
The post-operation report on the major snow event of 2022, written by the city’s commissioner of transportation and public works, revealed that the accumulation of snow, as well as a high number of parked cars left on the street and the difficulty of finding replacement snowplow operators, posed a challenge to the city and cost them $1.8 million.
The city says cars were too often left parked on the road, which meant streets had to be resurfaced at another time, “because the equipment could not perform its snow removal operation on the initial pass”.
“This extended the event much longer than normal, as crews had to tend to the roads multiple times to clear the road properly,” the report said.
The city also points to contractors’ inability to provide enough backup drivers to operate snowplows overnight, which poses an additional challenge in their snow removal efforts.
“This meant that the equipment remained idle for up to eight hours before the driver could return to work after taking the eight-hour break required under the Traffic Act,” the report said.
The city says the lack of replacement drivers delayed service for up to 24 hours.
The approximate operational cost of this winter event, including snow removal required in the following days, was $1.8M
The City of Toronto released its version of the same report in March 2022, in which it said 180,000 tonnes of snow had been removed from streets, sidewalks and bike lanes at a cost of more than $17 million, or more 20% of their annual winter maintenance budget.
Their report also identified a number of challenges to timely snow removal, including “supporting immediate emergency services needs, digging up TTC vehicles, soliciting equipment, manually clearing to avoid infrastructure damage and property, the logistics of removing and relocating the volume of snow as quickly as possible, some contractor issues, and communicating service levels and response times. »
Crews have also experienced equipment failures due to added wear and tear and pandemic-related supply chain shortages that have caused delays and disruptions to parts, requiring crews to manually clean some areas. to avoid damage to the infrastructure.
Resources were redeployed to help clear nearly 500 TTC buses that had become stranded as a result of the storm.
An estimated 62,000 calls were received by 311 in connection with the weather event.