City glazed with ice and snow
MARC BENCE/FOR METRO EDMONTON
Old Man Winter returned to sprinkle a dangerous dusting of icy snow over the city yesterday, and the weather was blamed for dozens of early morning collisions that sent a man to hospital in critical condition.
Both the driver and passenger of a small red sports car are recovering after their vehicle hit a patch of black ice at the bottom of Bellamy Hill, sending it spinning like a top until it smashed into a nearby tree.
The 20-something driver is being treated for serious head and chest injuries at the Royal Alexandra Hospital while the passenger is listed in stable condition at the U of A hospital.
The accident was one of 10 crashes involving injuries yesterday morning — on top of another 26 crashes involving property damage — when ice still glazed most city streets. Last week during the same time period, only three accidents caused injuries and 13 resulted in property damage, says Sgt. Guy Kinney.
"It’s not a nice summer day anymore," he said yesterday of the first snowfall of the season. "You can see the difference between last week and this week. Obviously, there has to be some correlation there. People have to slow down."
While most of the snow delivered over the weekend has since melted, the city’s transportation department is still reminding motorists to "drive defensively" now that winter driving conditions have arrived.
Residents are encouraged to winterize their vehicle, leave for work earlier, and to watch out for passing sanding trucks or graders.
Barry Belcourt, director of roadway maintenance, says a recently passed snow policy means there will be less pileup of the icy nuisance than there was last year.
He says a retainer fee will keep graders and operators on stand-by during the winter months to battle blizzards, while more funding has been secured for a comprehensive residential plowing program.
Homeowners are also required to clear sidewalks within 48 hours of a major snowfall, says Keith Scott, supervisor of the city’s complaints department, or they could face fines.