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High snow banks prompt warning by Moncton schools

Excessive snow banks make it tough to spot children.
Excessive snow banks make it tough to spot children.

Jill Colton, staff writer

February 14, 2011 — Children are being forced to walk on the road because of high snow banks in Moncton.

The school board wants motorists to follow the lead of school buses.
The school board wants motorists to follow the lead of school buses.

School District 2 is urging the public to take it slow around schools. High-reaching snow piles have forced children to walk on the road and motorists are being asked to use extra caution behind the wheel.

Aubrey Kirkpatrick, a spokesperson for the school district, said the city is doing the best it can to clear the snow banks and open up sidewalks. Until the snow clears up, Kirkpatrick said he hopes motorists follow the lead of bus drivers and slow down.

“We have our drivers paying extra, extra attention because of the high snow banks.” He adds, “it's winter in New Brunswick and you've got to drive accordingly. It's pretty terrible on the street.”

Taking care of business - salting and plowing.
Taking care of business - salting and plowing.

Even students are worried about the winter conditions. “It's pretty dangerous,” one high school student reported. “I don't want to walk out in front of a car or something.”

One saving grace for the school board, during winter storms, is delaying buses until road conditions are deemed safe. “If we do an hour's delay, what we're doing there is allowing the equipment to get out and salt and sand and try to get the roads in better condition and that way we can be safe...,” explains Kirkpatrick.

The latest bout of snow is set to fall across New Brunswick beginning Monday afternoon. Upwards of 20 cm is expected for some areas, but Moncton will see a little less. This could push the city to beat it's previous snowfall record (119 cm) for the month of February.

Still, the possibility of more flakes is a cause for concern. The last thing the already towering banks need is another dollop of snow. The pressure from the mounting flakes has caused roofs to collapse on various buildings and homes.

The annual snow clearing budget is on the brink of surpassing its quota of $5 million. Crews are also exhausted from non-stop labour.

With files from CBC New Brunswick

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