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Record snowfall slows efforts to clear city sidewalks

It's expected to take the city two more days to clear all 425 kilometres of sidewalks and walkways in Greater Sudbury, after a record 33-centimetre snowfall Tuesday.
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The sidewalk leading to the pedestrian tunnel connecting Riverside Drive to Elgin Street and downtown Sudbury, remained uncleared for much of the day Wednesday, after a record 33 centimetres of snow blanketed Greater Sudbury Tuesday. Photo by Jonathan Migneault.
It's expected to take the city two more days to clear all 425 kilometres of sidewalks and walkways in Greater Sudbury, after a record 33-centimetre snowfall Tuesday.

“They're making good progress,” said City of Greater Sudbury spokesperson Shannon Dowling.

Tony Cecutti, the city's general manager of infrastructure, said the focus on clearing Greater Sudbury's 3,560-kilometre municipal road network within 24 hours slowed down efforts to clean up sidewalks and walkways.

“Unfortunately, we've filled in some of the sidewalks with our own plows,” he said.

The city plowed all streets and roadways by 4 a.m. Wednesday, and proceeded with second passes throughout the rest of the day.

Cecutti said the city has a crew dedicated to sidewalks, and a fleet of 25 small plows — called sidewalk municipal tractors — used for the task.

By 9 p.m. Wednesday, city crews are expected to start clearing Sudbury's 135 bus shelters and the regular bus stops that see the most traffic. The standard the city sets is to clear bus shelters within 48 hours after a storm ends.

Greater Sudbury has 1,358 bus stops, but only those that see higher ridership – primarily along busier roads like Lasalle Boulevard and Regent Street – will be visited by city crews, again within 48 hours after a storm ends.

If a bus stop has not been cleared, the city encourages transit passengers to wait at any viable clearing near the stop and wave down their bus.

City bus drivers have been instructed to find clear areas to drop off passengers when stops are blocked by snowbanks.

Jonathan Migneault

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