It might be the last thing you want to think about, but Toronto’s roads will need to clear the snow as soon as possible and in addition to an unusual fleet of plows, many have been caught off-guard while others sound the alarm.
As part of a new city maintenance arrangement starting this November, contractors will plow, sand and salt Toronto’s streets with approximately 1,100 vehicles. Of these, 33 will see plow blades installed on cement trucks.
Aside from the odd appearance, the use of trucks is not so strange, said Vincent Seferraza, Toronto’s director of transportation service operations and maintenance. He said the tri-axle vehicles are no different from the vehicles used by the city on the roads during last winter.
“It’s the same chassis, the same body as the dump truck, used for winter maintenance,” he said. “Dump trucks have a blade that is attached to the front, cement trucks now have a blade that is attached to the front.”
Sferrazza said the cement truck plow would only be used on main roads, such as Kingston and Avenue Streets, or Steels Avenue which is typical for larger vehicles during the city’s operation last winter.
The number of tri-axle trucks on Toronto’s roads will also increase to 73 this winter, up from 13 last season.
The revelation that cement trucks would be used to make the roads safer has caught many off-guard, including city councillors, as employees did not specify which trucks would be involved when the council debated the new maintenance contract. Will be done.
Jessica Speaker with Friends and Families for Safe Streets said the change was particularly troubling given the many pedestrian deaths from cement trucks in the city. “Victims have a terrible way of sucking and gnawing under the rear wheels, which doesn’t survive,” she said. The low visibility, combined with the lack of side guards on larger trucks, makes them increasingly treacherous, he said.
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She said she hoped the city would consider additional security measures this winter to prevent unnecessary deaths.
“Coming up with a little extra funding to put a side guard or a spotter in the passenger seat – it’s easy, it’s completely doable and it depends on political will,” the speaker said.
Councilor Josh Matlow also expressed concern over the addition of cement trucks, noting the “disproportionate numbers on our city’s streets in the past few years”.
Metallo voted against the Winter Maintenance Liaison, he said, over the lack of details, and said that staff should have informed councilors that the trucks would have been used. “To add more of them during snow storms when our roads are already dangerous is irresponsible,” he said in a statement to Granthshala News.
But Mayor John Tory’s office said he does not share the same concerns about safety. Spokesman Lovin Hadidy said in a statement that “city employees confirmed (having cement trucks) is an accepted practice in other North American jurisdictions, including New Jersey.”
“Mayor Tory expects city workers to take all possible safety precautions for all vehicles in the fleet. If any additional security measures are necessary in addition to those already deployed on all large snow-clearing vehicles, they will be implemented,” Hadisi said.
Sferrazza confirmed to Granthshala News that additional safety measures, such as cutting mirrors at blind spots, will be added to the trucks, and the city will maintain an ongoing dialogue with its contractors to keep the vehicles safe.
The city also said the fleet would need to meet signage and visibility requirements for winter maintenance vehicles. This will include flashing beacons, checkerboards on the rear of the vehicle and flags on the ends of the plow.