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December 2008
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Quebec City Knows What They Are Doing

Having recently returned from a ski camp in  Quebec I was just amazed at their snow removal and ice maintenance procedures.

Snow Removal…

The Quebec plows don’t mess around, if you are in the way you get hit AND it’s your fault! Out in the rural areas on the highways the plows drive at about 100 kilometers an hour right up against the snowbank pushing the snow further and further over. As a runner trying to get back to my chalet it was frightening at times (no music then I had to be fully and completely aware of my surroundings).

On the highways in the urban areas a plow is followed by 6 or 7 dump trucks that pile the snow up and cart it off. They block entrances, exits, lanes … and no one complains and the snow is efficiently and effectively removed.

On the city streets smaller plows and dump trucks work in conjunction with each other to clean the streets. Again cars know to just get out of the way of the plows. But the plows are extremely respectful of the pedestrians, always giving them the right of way and looking out for their safety.

Ice Maintenance…

My first day in Quebec was 8 degrees with rain followed by a deep freeze. It made for some very slippery conditions and the thickest ice I  have ever seen on the roads. I was out at Mt Ste Anne (about 50km east of Quebec City) and the plows only used sand. I was just amazed at how well it did at clearing the ice. The sand was left on the salt and later on the plow followed up and cleared the thick ice off the road. By the afternoon the roads were safe again for running, so they must have been safter for driving!

Quebec, particularly eastern Quebec, recieves a significant amount of snow each year (they had almost 7 meters last year). They have to be efficient at removing the snow otherwise the cities roads and highways would be paralyzed.