Front end loaders working to clear back lanes across Winnipeg

Front end loader with bucket of snow clearing a back lane

When it comes to a snow clearing operation in Winnipeg, back lanes are usually given accelerated priority.

“We do this to provide access for residents, service and emergency vehicles,” said Michael Cantor, Manager of Streets Maintenance with the City of Winnipeg.

The City of Winnipeg Policy on Snow Clearing and Ice Control outlines how crews maintain the roads, back lanes, sidewalks, active transportation trails, and paths.

There are more than 850 kilometres of back lanes across the city. That’s longer than the driving distance to Saskatoon, Sk.

Crews use front end loaders in back lanes and work to ensure a width of 3 metres is cleared.

If any ridges of snow – also known as windrows – are left behind, it is best for residents to remove them as soon as possible. This prevents the windrows from freezing and becoming more difficult to deal with.

Windrows in back lanes are not cleared by City crews. As directed by Council in 2014, the City looked into options to remove back lane windrows and determined that the equipment required to clear windrows is too large for back lanes.

 “Structures such as garages and fences limit the room for clearing equipment to maneuver,” said Cantor. “There is also limited storage capacity for snow in back lanes.”

Residents are encouraged to contact 311 to report a back lane that might need clearing.

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