'It's been crazy busy': Business booming for Saskatoon snow removal, winter tire services
SASKATOON -- People in Saskatoon are still digging themselves out of the 31 centimetres of snow that fell on the city on Sunday.
“It's been crazy busy,” said Nathan Groat with Student Snow Removal.
Armed with shovels and snowblowers, Groat says they’ve had as many as 40 calls a day since the snow started to fall.
“We try and get everything done within 24 hours,” he said. “Because it's been so crazy, we had to hire on few extra people, but we're managing to get everything dug out eventually.”
CTV News spoke with another snow removal business that said their phone has been “ringing every two minutes” with one worker saying he’d had just four hours of sleep in the last two days because of the demand for snow removal.
CTV News also spoke with stores in Saskatoon who say they’re completely sold out of snowblowers, with shovels and rock salt selling quickly. One store said they had six shovels left, after “selling a year’s worth in a single weekend.”
Len Ritchot with Market Tire in Saskatoon says “the first couple days leading up to” the weekend were “probably a couple of the busiest mornings I could remember in a long time.”
“I had a customer talk to me this morning said, you know, it's been years since they had winter tires, but because of the conditions, they're going to go back to winter tires, so we'll see lots of that this year,” he said.
Many residential streets in Saskatoon remain impassable, but the province’s Ministry of Highways says all of their major routes are open, though it’s “always a good idea to check your route before you travel”, and that crews are out clearing routes and monitoring conditions,.
“If you come across a snowplow, treat it like any other emergency services vehicle,” said David Horth, director of communications with the Ministry of Highways.
“If it's pulled over and it's lights are flashing. The rules are you slow to 60, and you pass with caution. If snow plow is driving with his lights flashing, you can pass it when it's safe to do so.”
Residential roads pose ‘challenges’
In a news release Tuesday afternoon, the City of Saskatoon said crews have been able to open at least one traffic lane on all major and secondary roads.
Residential roads continue to be a challenge, according to Terry Schmidt, general manager of transportation and construction
“The City’s snow clearing service does not extend to residential neighbourhoods, but we recognize that this is an unusually large amount of snowfall, all at once, for our city. For this reason, we’ve decided to proceed with a plan to restore mobility on all roads, including residential streets.”
“We recognize the challenges people are facing, and we want to help fix the problem. We’re going to throw everything we have at this effort to clear away the snow and get people moving around again.”
The residential snow clearing will begin after the higher traffic streets are complete. If Saskatoon experiences more snowfall, as is forecast for Wednesday, crews will need to prioritize higher traffic streets as usual, the release said.