Transportation and Works
January 25, 2007

Government’s Snow-Clearing Funding Unprecedented

The Honourable John Hickey, Minister of Transportation and Works, responded today to further misinformation regarding snow-clearing brought forward by the Opposition.

"Let me make it perfectly clear, this government has made an unprecedented investment in snow-clearing," said Minister Hickey. "We have committed to spend $50 million over the next five years to purchase new snow-clearing equipment and invest approximately $45 million annually on snow and ice control. Just as this government is replacing the old vessels the Opposition ignored, we’re replacing the snow-clearing equipment the Opposition left behind.

"We are making such substantial investments because we are committed to providing the safest roads possible for the motoring public."

As such, in case of emergencies, ambulance and fire truck operators can call the Transportation and Works dispatch and plows will be deployed immediately.

Minister Hickey pointed out there is no reduction in the number of staff who maintain provincial roads. There has been no change to the snow-clearing hours of operation policy since 1982. The restructuring of summer maintenance depots in 2005 has had no impact on winter maintenance service.

"The department continues to operate with the same number of winter depots and the same number of staff as in the past."

Minister Hickey also clarified the province’s snow-clearing hours of operation.

"The one crew system effectively covers 16 hours of the day. Traffic volumes outside the core working hours of 5 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. are typically very low. A province-wide 24-hour service would be very expensive and traffic volumes in many areas do not warrant it at this time.

"However, plowing will continue during storms until 9:30 p.m. or longer until all roads are open to traffic if the storm is ending."

Minister Hickey says all things considered, this administration’s snow-clearing efforts are a vast improvement over that of the previous administration.

"Our policy regarding snow-clearing is, ‘when in doubt send it out’," said Minister Hickey.

Finally, Minister Hickey points out that the Department of Transportation and Works has invested in Black Ice and Snow Means Slow public awareness campaigns with the message of: drive according to road conditions.

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Media contact:
David Salter
Director of Communications
Department of Transportation and Works
709-729-3015, 691-3577
davidsalter@gov.nl.ca 

2007 01 25                                                3:15 p.m.
 


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