© Lawrence Powell
The province's snow plow drivers are ready to roll as another winter storm approaches Nova Scotia.
"We have hundreds of staff and more than 400 pieces of snow-clearing equipment ready," said Barb Baillie, executive director of maintenance and operations, Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. "We are maintaining our plowing standards during what has been a very busy and challenging season."
The department's standards are to have 100-series highways, trunk highways, and other high-traffic roads cleared within eight hours after a storm ends.
Provincial plow operators work 24/7 during a storm, plowing roads as a storm is blowing, but often can't make headway until the snow stops.
Secondary and other medium-volume roads must be cleared within 12 hours after a storm. Local roads, streets in residential areas and subdivisions, and gravel roads are cleared within 24 hours.
"It only makes sense to clear the busiest roads first," said Baillie. "If we're advised of a medical emergency through 911, we'll pull a plow off its regular route to assist emergency vehicles to get where they need to go."
The best thing drivers can do during a storm is stay off the roads, if possible, and let operators do their job. Road traffic packs snow, which turns to ice in colder temperatures, making the clean-up twice as difficult.
The Annapolis Valley Regional School Board has already cancelled after-school activities in anticipation of the weather.
Nova Scotians can check provincial highways conditions at http://511.gov.ns.ca/map/en.html . The province's plowing standards are available at http://novascotia.ca/tran/winter/WinterMaintenanceStandards.pdf .