The big dig that followed Sunday’s record snowfall may end up costing the city around $5 million.
John Manconi, Ottawa’s director of surface operations, said final numbers aren’t tallied, but he noted that the last significant snowfall in Ottawa on Dec. 2 cost $3 million, before snow removal, and he expected this one to ring in higher.
“I could see this easily hitting $5 million,” said Manconi, “We’re going to be going at this for a while.”
According to Geoff Coulson, warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment Canada, the total snowfall Sunday at the city’s airport registered 37 centimetres, a new single-day record for snowfall in December.
While work crews concentrated on clearing main arteries Sunday, yesterday they turned to side streets and Manconi said plows should have had residential areas cleared by this morning.
The focus of the cleanup now turns to snow removal, which Manconi said should be finished by week’s end.
The aftermath of the storm was nearly as hectic as the event itself.
An OC Transpo articulated bus got stuck in a snowbank downtown coming east off the Transitway yesterday, backing up dozens of buses.
Alain Mercier, director of transit services, said as long as drivers stayed on cleared roads, the buses shouldn’t get stuck. Back in December 2006, several of the articulated buses got stuck, causing widespread transit delays.
“We have to trade convenience for system efficiency,” said Mercier.
North & East Ontario CAA was so busy extra staff was brought to the area response centre, said Korey Kennedy, Public Affairs Manager. CAA had dealt with 1,000 service calls before the afternoon, most from drivers needing help out a ditch or a snowbank. Roadside wait times for help were up to 90 minutes.
The University of Ottawa is scheduling up to 80 make-up exams for those who missed them on Sunday. And at the Ottawa Airport, spokesperson Krista Kealey said staff spent much of the morning processing passengers who had flights cancelled on Sunday.
School buses were cancelled citywide and taxi companies reported long waits for service.