December 14, 2004
(Transportation and Works)


Minister reiterates there has been no change in governmentís snow clearing policy

Tom Rideout, Minister of Transportation and Works, today reiterated that there has been no change in the departmentís policy regarding snow clearing throughout the province. "No new snow clearing policy has been implemented," said Minister Rideout. "Anyone who asserts otherwise simply doesnít have the facts." 

"I can assure people of the province that the snow clearing practices carried out by the department this year are the same as they were last year. There was never any direction to do otherwise," said the minster. "There was never any change in policy and because of this, there was no need to consult with local communities regarding any change in policy." 

"The department will continue to apply the same amount of ice control as in previous years. Our trucks will ensure that the roads are widened to the same width as they were last year. Staff have always been allowed, and indeed required, to make the necessary number of passes to widen roads," said the minister. "If this requires more passes by our equipment, then this will be done. If this requires more overtime, then our staff will work the required overtime. 

"This is not a new policy. This has been our governmentís plan for this snow clearing season all along. This is not new." 

"Above all else, the highest priority of our government is the safety of our citizens," said Minister Rideout. "We have implemented new working procedures for our snow plow operations in order to meet regulations set out by Occupation Health and Safety (OH&S). However, these changes have not impacted our snow clearing policy." 

As a result of these new regulations, in the short term, the department will no longer use a wing, on a routine basis, on single axle trucks and Volvo tandem trucks. This impacts approximately one-third of the fleet or about 115 vehicles. The remaining two-thirds will continue to operate as in previous years. 

To address the long term operations, the department has requested an increase in the weight rating on the front axle of our trucks from the manufacturer and have begun a process that would see the wing attachment relocated closer to the rear of the truck. Thus, complying with the OH&S weight regulations. 

Media contact: Lori Lee Oates, Communications, (709) 729-3015 or (709) 690-8403 

2004 12 14                               2:15 p.m.

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