Tens of thousands of dollars worth of salt has been spread on the streets of southern Vancouver Island since Sunday night, with more on the way both locally and regionally.
Dozens of trucks have been on the road since Sunday night, when strong arctic outflow winds from the Lower Mainland caused heavy bands of snow in the area, according to Environment Canada. As a result over 15 cm of snow fell in some areas of the Capital Region, with another 5 cm expected by Tuesday.
Regionally, Emcon Services has been diligent in cleaning highways and main arteries between Victoria, Sooke, the Malahat and Bamberton.
“We’ve been tracking the weather for a week and a half, so we’ve been prepared,” said Andrew Gaetz, quality assurance manager and road safety patroller with Emcon.
To prepare for the cold, Emcon has been brining the streets, while Monday most of its 21 trucks were on the roads clearing snow. Emcon is contracted by the Ministry of Transportation to focus on main routes, starting with highways and followed by main arteries, bus routes and side roads.
“It’s been going steady since Sunday night,” Gaetz said. “I’d say on the Malahat alone we’ve probably used between 35-50 tonnes of salt.”
That could total as much as $10,000 in one night alone, Gaetz explained. On top of that, Emcon has called everyone who can possibly work to come in, with plans of retaining a full staff roster between now and Friday.
Locally, the City of Victoria has five dump trucks and two smaller trucks with plows and salters ready to go, as well as bobcats with brooms and buckets, a walk-behind radial bloom for the Johnson Street Bridge walkways, a five-tonne truck for the bridge, car deck and side streets, and equipment for clearing snow along sidewalks, bus stops and protected bike lanes.
The city already brined the roads as a preventative measure, and has a good stock of salt in case snow continues.
“We have 400 tonnes of salt and expect that to be enough for this snow event,” said Brian Murphy, assistant director of public works at the City of Victoria in an email. “We also have an order in to replace what we are currently using.”
So far 180 tonnes of the city’s salt supply has been used.