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Mayor Danny Breen says more than 4,000 truckloads of snow have been cleared from St. John's since last week's blizzard. JOE GIBBONS/THE TELEGRAM
Lynnann Winsor, deputy city manager of public works, says clearing culverts to allow water to drain properly is all the city can do ahead of potential rainfall. JOE GIBBONS/THE TELEGRAM
The week-long state of emergency in St. John’s will officially come to an end at 6 a.m. Saturday.
Mayor Danny Breen says more than 4,000 truckloads of snow have been removed from the city so far by city crews and supporting crews from the provincial government and other municipalities across the province.
While the state of emergency is lifted, there’s a lot of work left to do, Breen says .
“We’ll still be continuing the same effort that we have now. We have a lot more work to do here to get everything cleaned up. We’re going to continue that,” said Breen.
“We’re going to continue with the same resources we have now so that we can get this city back to normal operations.”
The city clears streets on a priority basis, with ambulance routes and main thoroughfares as Priority 1, other populated streets as Priority 2 and smaller streets as Priority 3. Breen said Friday that all Priority 1 roads and most Priority 2 streets have been widened and cleared, so the focus now turns to making sure Priority 3 roads have been cleared.
“If your street is not done, we’re getting to you. We’re going to get there,” he said.
Once the state of emergency is lifted, businesses will be allowed to reopen and normal operations can resume. While residents can again travel by car, Metrobus and GoBus services will offer free rides until Feb. 7.
Breen says the free rides are meant to encourage residents to take the bus, to minimize the amount of cars on the road as the remaining cleanup efforts continue.
Lynnann Windsor, the deputy manager of public works, says there are still concerns on the horizon, with the potential for rain in the coming days. With this amount of snow in the city, rain could mean flooding.
“It doesn't really help our situation very much. We have organized for crews to be in over the weekend to start cleaning out catch basins," she said.
"It is important to understand that the drainage patterns in the city are now completely different than if there was no snow. We will also have to react accordingly once Monday comes and the rain starts.
Winsor says sidewalks will be cleared, but the amount of snow means full-scale equipment is needed to clear them, not the smaller equipment typically used to clear sidewalks.
Breen says motorists still need to be cautious on the roads.
“Everybody is going to have to play their part in this. The drivers are going to have to take their time. They’re going to have to be aware that there’s people out on the road,” he said.
“They’re going to have to be especially prudent in their operations. If you don’t need to go anywhere, don’t go out.”