Amherst coping with heavy snow

Works crews going around the clock to clear steets, sidewalks

Published on February 15, 2017

An Amherst resident blows snow from his driveway on Tuesday. It has been a busy few days for operational crews from Amherst as they clear snow from two storms in less than a week - with a third expected overnight and into Thursday.

©Darrell Cole - TC Media

AMHERST, N.S. – It has been a busy few days for Amherst’s Public Works crews. With two snowstorms in less than a week, a third coming overnight, there has been very little downtime.

“My message to our operational staff is they have really upped their game these last few days,” Amherst CAO Greg Herrett said Wednesday night. “The guys who are driving the trucks and driving the plows have been working around the clock and I know we really appreciate it. They’ve gone above and beyond.”

It was a really good effort and a really good result. We’re really pleased. Greg Herrett, Amherst CAO

Herrett said things have gone very well over the last 24 hours as the town works to clear the more than 50 centimetres of snow that fell Monday and early Tuesday. That came just a few days after another 20 centimetres fell in a storm last Thursday night.

The town CAO said crews have been working around the clock to keep streets open, remove snow from the downtown and South Albion Street and to open sidewalks throughout the town – this despite having its sidewalk plows breakdown on Tuesday because of the denseness and weight of the snow plugging many sidewalks.

While it would be easy for people to complain about the process, Herrett said the community has been very supportive of the work being done by the Public Works employees in trying times.

Something that has helped a lot has been a loader-mounted snowblower that has increased snow removal.

“It has been a very valuable piece of equipment,” Herrett said. “We’ve used it to widen the streets and we’ve used it in the downtown cleanup.”

The storms have been the difference in what has been a pretty quiet winter for snow removal. Besides the ice storm in January there really hasn’t been any severe weather – although there were some smaller snowfalls in December and January.

Because of this it has been an easier winter on equipment and while the recent storms have resulted in some breakdowns, the machines have been repaired quickly and put back to work.

“It was a really good effort and a really good result,” he said. “We’re really pleased.”

Another thing is the snow budget hasn’t been impacted too much by the weather so far, although Herrett cautioned a series of snowstorms the rest of the winter could change that situation.