Parking ban in effect as Ottawa digs out after blizzard

A 24-hour winter parking ban is now in effect in Ottawa as snow removal crews begin the process of digging residential streets out from under a record amount of snow.

Ottawa mayor Jim Watson told Newstalk 580 CFRA that it will take a lot of time to clean up.

"It's going to be many, many days because they've got to get into the residential streets and then they have to come back and start removing the snowbanks from major commercial streets, and that takes a lot of time," he told Ottawa Now with Kristy Cameron. "When you have 13,000 kilometers of roads, it takes a long period of time, even though we have every piece of equipment out."

Watson said he expects the cleanup to cost as much as $5 million. 

"The last briefing I had showed that we're in pretty good shape because January was pretty mild, except for this major blast of it, so I think we're in good financial shape," he said. "We did put in extra dollars, recognizing that these storms and these snow incidents are becoming more frequent as a result of climate change, as a result of a number of different factors."

Environment Canada issued a blizzard warning and later a winter storm warning for Ottawa. By 5 p.m., the Ottawa Airport had seen a record 47 cm of snow

Roads manager Bryden Denyes told the CTV News at 6 that crews were set to begin working on residential streets at around 7 p.m.

"It's one of the worst three-hour periods of snow I've seen in doing this job," he said. "Our conditions were extremely treacherous and dangerous. We plowed areas and within half an hour, you couldn't even tell we had been there."

Quentin Levesque, acting director of roads and parking services for the city of Ottawa told reporters Monday afternoon that the speed at which the snow came down Monday morning created significant issues.

"Between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m., we were seeing accumulations in the range of 5 centimetres up to 12 centimetres in some areas of the city per hour," he said. "This proves very difficult for staff to keep up, as far as clearing the snow from our sidewalks, roadways and our winter cycling network."

Environment Canada said 12 cm of snow fell between 8 and 9 a.m. Another 9 cm fell between 9 and 10 a.m. on Monday.

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