It has been a busy week for snow removal crews in Quesnel, with two substantial snowfalls. Twitter/City of Quesnel photo

Everything you need to know about snow removal in Quesnel

The City maintains more than 146 kilometres of road

How does Quesnel deal with snow?

The City maintains more than 146 kilometres of road — and that’s not counting sidewalks and trail systems. So how does that work?

Over the last week, there have two significant snowfalls in the city. It almost felt like the first had barely been cleared when the second came on New Year’s Day.

Snow removal in Quesnel covers six different areas. They include: area one, Johnston Flats and subdivisions, North Star Road and Carson Subdivision Phase II; area two, the downtown core, North Quesnel and Two and Three Mile Flat; area three, all areas east of Baker Creek and West of the Fraser River; area four, all areas west of Baker Creek and north of Anderson Drive; area five, all areas south of Anderson Drive; and area six, the South Quesnel/Southills area.

Each area has a different method and execution for snow clearing, which vary from the use of loader plows, road graders and backhoes, and sand trucks with an underbody plow. Details for each area specifically can be found at

Clearing windrows

One method of snow clearing includes the creation of windrows, which are the piles of snow left in the middle of the road in between two cleared lanes. This happens when there are sidewalks on both sides of the road, meaning there is no other place to put the snow without blocking pedestrian access.

Once the roads are clear, the removal of windrows begins. The City uses a loader-mounted snow blower and between six and 10 dump trucks to remove the windrows throughout Quesnel.

This process typically takes up to three days to complete, but particularly heavy snowfalls can make it take even longer.

Other windrows are created at the ends of driveways, blocking them in when the plow goes by. If more than four inches of snow has fallen, the City will remove the windrows left at the ends of driveways, but says it typically takes from 10 to 30 minutes after the plow has initially gone by to be removed.

Emcon’s responsibilities

While the city is responsible to maintaining most of the roads in Quesnel, Emcon is contracted by the Ministry of Highways to clear major highways.

In Quesnel, the following streets are maintained by Emcon:

  • Highway 97 North
  • Highway 97 South
  • Front Street, including the Moffat Bridge Loop
  • Legion Drive
  • Carson Avenue

Major snow or ice storms

Following a major winter storm, the City follows a set schedule. First, they plow streets included on the priority list, which includes Moffat Bridge and approaches, Lewis Drive Hill, Flamingo Street, Perry Street and Lark Avenue from Bettcher Street to Voyageur Elementary School, among others. Snow removal on the priority streets begins between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. following a major snowfall.

Then areas one through four and area six are plowed and sanded. Area five is plowed and sanded following the other areas, and the last step is the removal of windrows.

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