City crews kept busy

City of Timmins crews were busy on Thursday trying to stay ahead of the rapid snow melt and rainfall that accompanied this week’s thawing of the deep freeze that had kept the community in its icy grip for months.

THOMAS PERRY/THE DAILY PRESS City of Timmins employees were kept busy on Thursday draining excess water out of manholes downtown, as melting snow and falling rain continued to put pressure on the system. Here, they are working on a temporarily closed section of Cedar Street South, between Second Avenue and Third Avenue.

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City of Timmins crews were busy on Thursday trying to stay ahead of the rapid snow melt and rainfall that accompanied this week’s thawing of the deep freeze that had kept the community in its icy grip for months.

“For the most part, we have been trying to clear catch basins,” said Ken Krcel, the city’s manager of Public Works.

“We have been getting a lot of calls from the public, through Service Timmins, and they have been giving us the work requests.

“We have been going around and trying to take care of the biggest problems first, but as they come in, we are organizing them and we have different crews throughout the area.

“We notice a bit bigger of an influx today with that rain we had this morning and the warmer weather.

“Obviously, there has been a lot more melt, with the extra rain added to the water on the roads.

“We are working through it and we will have crews out again Friday, maybe even tonight if need be, as we are just trying to open up as much as we can, get as much water away and we will see how things progress.”

As bad as things have been, Krcel had been expecting conditions to be even worse than they had been up until Thursday, but he did caution the city was not out of the woods just yet.

“Obviously, there are going to be big puddles in certain areas, people just need to be patient,” he said.

“We will get around to them, but I think things have been going pretty good, considering.”

One of the areas city crews were focused on Thursday, was the downtown core.

“Our storm system in the downtown was at capacity,” Krcel said.

“So, we had a bunch of crews trying to help it along. That was more of our sewer department looking after that.

“It did impact Ontario Hydro. They had some water in their (underground) vaults and they had to pump it out.

“That happens at times when you get a rapid melt. We do have old infrastructure in the city and it can only take so much water.”

THOMAS PERRY/THE DAILY PRESSA combination of rapid snow melt and rain has kept City of Timmins crews busy as they work hard to preventing pooling of water and flooding. Up to 10 to 20 millimetres of new rain is expected to fall before things tapper off Friday morning. Here crews are working on a manhole on Cedar Street South, between Second Avenue and First Avenue.

Krcel anticipates the cool temperatures predicted for the weekend will help the situation.

“It should slow thing down and let us reassess before things warm up again at the beginning of next week,” he said.

“We plan on having extra crews out on the weekend, doing extra work anyways. We are also hoping to get some more guys out doing snow removal because every bit of snow we can get off the roads will help with drainage. It opens up more catch basins, it’s less snow melting to cause grief.

“We also know too much water helps create potholes, which we would like to avoid if possible.

“So, we are going to keep plugging away throughout the weekend. We have had regular scheduled crews working on weekends throughout the winter and we do have people available to deal with emergencies, if they come up.”

Even with this week’s rapid snow melt and rainfall, there is still a lot of snow on the ground across the city.

“The more we can remove, the better it will be for everybody,” Krcel said.

The manager of Public Works notes there were four two- or three-man backhoe crews out on Thursday.

“Our Water and Sewer Department also had a couple of crews out with their flusher trucks and steamers, trying to thaw out anything that was frozen,” Krcel said.

“We also had one regular snow-removal crew out doing snow removal and I think we had one or two crews with loaders removing snow, as well.”

While the worst may or may not be over, Krcel noted the city appreciates the patience demonstrated by residents.

“We advise motorists to be courteous,” he said

“There is still a lot of water and people need to drive slow, remembering there are pedestrians out there and other people driving.

“If you hit a bit puddle and it splashes on a pedestrian, or another vehicle people could lose visibility. I like to stress safety.

“If people have concerns, we encourage them to contact Service Timmins, our new customer service centre. It is the best way for us to prioritize our work.”

The red alert issued for mail delivery in Timmins by Canada Post on Wednesday, was downgraded to a yellow alert on Thursday.

According to a release issued by Canada Post, a yellow alert means recent severe weather conditions have resulted in delays in mail processing for the city.

It goes on to state, “While best effort is being made for mail delivery, some mail may be delayed. We encourage customers to clear the snow and ice from their walkways, stairs, and driveways, to ensure safe access to the front door for both their visitors, as well as their mail carriers.”