News / Edmonton

Breaking the ice: City tackles slippery roads after fielding 1,000 complaints

Residents urged to call 311 if their alleyways are too slick

A pedestrian walks along an icy sidewalk.

John Rennison / Hamilton Spectator File.

A pedestrian walks along an icy sidewalk.

If you’ve noticed you’re slipping and sliding more than usual outside, you’re not alone.

City officials say Edmontonians lodged more than 1,000 complaints about icy streets and walkways over the weekend.

Janet Tecklenborg, the city’s director of infrastructure operations, said about two-thirds of the complaints came from south of the river.

The city started tackling the ice on Sunday and hopes to have the job done by Tuesday morning, she said.

“We did do an anti-icing run starting on Sunday, which includes using calcium chloride on all the major arterials that are included in the pilot. And then we’re also using that road salt on the neighbourhoods to help melt the ice,” Tecklenborg said.

She urged property owners to clear their walkways and use sand and salt if chipping the ice away is too difficult.

Ice is also accumulating in back alleys, which the city only clears on an as-needed basis.

“If there are concerns about people’s back alleys if they could please let 311 know and we’ll try to address it as soon as we can,” Tecklenborg said.

The ice troubles started after a stretch of high temperatures above 0 C melted snow and gave way to freezing temperatures overnight.

Nicole Smith, director of research and community engagement with the Seniors Association of Greater Edmonton, said the slippery conditions are especially a concern for seniors.

SAGE offers fall prevention programming to help keep Edmontonians safe when the freeze-thaw cycle or a large dump of snow wreaks havoc on walkways.

“Falls can be a huge risk for seniors, and it can actually lead to increased isolation. People are reluctant to leave their homes, particularly after a fall because it increases the fear that it will happen again,” Smith said. “It can send people into higher levels of care if they hurt themselves physically when they fall.”

The melting is likely behind us for now, as Environment Canada is forecasting highs no warmer than -6 C this week.

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