Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com
A car makes its way up Oliver Road Thursday afternoon.
The city is heading out to remove snowbanks for the first time in more than five years, or at least that’s the plan.
Snowbanks have been reducing lanes and visibility on city roads this winter. City of Thunder Bay’s roads manager, Brad Adams, said he's hoping to have crews out Sunday night to start removing some of the larger ones near major intersections on both sides of the city.
"It all depends on the weather though," he said. "If we get snow Sunday then we will not be starting snow removal until we deal with the snowplowing."
According to Environment Canada, as of Thursday afternoon there was a 70 per cent chance this area would be getting snow on that Sunday. The weather forecast is also calling for a 60 per cent of snow on Friday and Saturday.
The snowbank removal is something the city hasn't had to do since around 2009, Adams said. Removing the banks runs up to $28,000 a night.
"It's a very costly venture," he said.
Although there are cases of reduced visibility, it's not the height of the snowbank that causes the most concern. Adams said they usually remove snow when it starts to reduce lanes on the road.
Thunder Bay Police Service Traffic Sgt. Glenn Porter said snow piles have been an issue and will probably be worse next week with more snow expected.
"It's winter driving. People just have to take into account that's one of the factors they have to remember when pulling out or making a turn," he said.
Numbers for the 2013 budget aren't in yet but last month the city was projected to be more than $1 million for its winter roads budget. Adams said while removing snow banks is costly for the 2014 budget it's hard to predict what the removal will mean by the end of this year.
"Time will tell on that," he said.