Salt gives some traction on sidewalks as well as roads, along 227th Street near Selkirk Avenue, Monday. (Phil Melnychuk/THE NEWS)

Snow-rain-snow cycle disrupted Maple Ridge street response

Fast-changing weather didn’t allow for brining

When it comes to preparing for a snowfall, it would be nice if winter could stick to the script.

But that didn’t happen Sunday night, making for a challenging time for Maple Ridge city crews trying to ensure roads were drivable.

Roads superintendent Walter Oleschak said Monday that if a snowfall is anticipated, crews will get on to the roads in the hours before, and spray a mix of salt and water on to the roads. That soaks into the pavement and slows the freeze-up time of the driving surfaces.

Read more: More than 4,000 students absent as Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows public schools stay open Monday

But that didn’t happen Sunday night. The melting snow from earlier combined with heavy rain in the afternoon, only to be followed by snow and cold hours later.

In all, 31 millimetres of snow and rain fell were recorded at Pitt Meadows Regional Airport on Sunday, with the low dipping to 4 C.

”It wasn’t brining conditions, so we couldn’t put any brine down,” said Oleschak.

“It [lack of brine] allowed for the roads to freeze up a lot quicker than usual.”

Read more: More than 30 students on bus that crashed on the Golden Ears Bridge

Oleschak said that five trucks originally were scheduled to be on the roads Sunday. But when the forecast changed, that number was doubled on Sunday night, along with the addition of a grader, which resulted in 11 city vehicles being put on to the roads.

Oleschak added that the main routes in the city were all done by about 3 a.m., with secondary roads plowed and sanded by 6 a.m. this morning.

A full crew continued on the roads Monday to clean up the remaining secondary roads, he added.

The snow response will remain in effect for most of this week as the temperature will drop to -5 C on Tuesday, before gradual warming resumes.

Snow is forecast for Wednesday with mixed rain and snow being called for Thursday and Friday.

By the weekend, it’s back to rain and a high of 7 C on Saturday.

In November, the city’s weather service predicted no major snowfalls for the 2019-2020 season.

Read more: Easier winter predicted

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Maple Ridge city crews spread salt on sidewalks on Dewdney Trunk Road, Monday. (Phil Melnychuk/THE NEWS)

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