Mild weather means City of Saskatoon workers can get cracking on street sweeping and pothole repairs.
According to Jeff Jorgenson, general manager of transportation and utilities, higher temperatures have also helped pad the reserve fund for when nasty winter weather inevitably returns.
“I believe our entire snow budget was more than $1-million underspent in 2015,” he said.
The city makes its snow budget based on calendar years, so money allocated for 2016 has to cover both the tail end of this winter and the beginning of the next one.
Jorgenson said so far, they haven’t had to dip too far into this year’s funds.
“I believe our entire snow budget was more than $1-million underspent in 2015.”
“There’s no question this would be a much better winter from the city’s perspective as far as we needed less plowing, less sanding than we would in a typical winter.”
With most streets currently clear of snow, Jorgenson said they’ve put street sweepers to work.
For now, they’ll be sweeping around parked cars. That will change in May, when workers begin the annual curb-to-curb street sweeping program. At that time, signs will go up and residents will have to move their vehicles.
In news sure to please many drivers who’ve been rattled around on the roads over the last few weeks, Jorgenson said pothole repairs will start early.
Normally, hot mix asphalt isn’t available until May, forcing city workers to use cold patches as a temporary fix until then. But this year, Jorgenson said they’ll have hot mix starting April 11.
“Sometimes the actual repair fails, because we’re making them in very poor conditions. The hole is wet, we’ve got the freeze-thaw conditions. So the cold mix, we don’t consider that a permanent repair. It basically keeps the roads safe in the spring conditions and allows us to keep people moving,” he said.
Jorgenson said they expect to have eight crews out patching potholes once hot mix is available. That said, he warned April weather can be erratic, and the city would need to be ready to shift gears in the event of a snowfall.
The city’s report-a-pothole web utility will be back up on Monday, Jorgenson said people can also call the city’s customer service line at 306-975-2476 if they have a concern.