Road operations in Huntsville will look different this winter.
Tarmo Uukkivi, Director of Operations and Protective Services, says they’re making two fundamental changes. The first is moving from 16-hour plowing and snowbank-removal to 24-hour service, Monday to Friday, with crews on standby for the weekend. The second is consolidating routes.
“We’ve cut down the number of routes to an eight-route system, where the emphasis is on critical infrastructure and bus routes first,” says Uukkivi. “With clear communication to the public related to where we are with snow operations.”
According to Uukkivi, that’s to keep things clear for emergency vehicles, school and transit buses, business traffic, and commuters. Public communication had also been identified by Public Works as one of the key lessons learned in the wake of the holiday snowstorms last year.
He adds the changes won’t come with an increase in taxes.
“The changes that have been made are all structural, within the existing budget. So there is very little, if any, impact to the actual cost,” says Uukkivi. “Because any initial costs for the overnight shift are traded off with not paying out overtime for that period. In terms of staffing, it’s done within the existing staff complement, so there are no additional operator positions being added to make this happen.”
Winter operations started Nov. 1 throughout Muskoka, with no overnight parking allowed on any municipal road.