SURREY (NEWS 1130) – It’s that time of year — cities are showing off their snow-removal equipment and reassuring us that they are ready for the winter ahead.
But Surrey has just one-upped every other local municipality.
Manager of Engineering Operations Ray Kerr says they have just launched the online Surrey Plow Tracker to map out the location of every plow truck in the city and where they have been working.
“It gives the public an opportunity to go online and actually take a look at their surrounding streets and see the last time those streets were addressed,” Kerr tells NEWS 1130.
“For example they could go on and look at an arterial road and see that it had been done less than two hours ago. They can plan the route they want to take that day.”
It’s not quite in real time, but it is close, and Kerr says if someone is sitting at home during a snow storm they can quickly check the website to see what routes have been recently cleared.
The system relies on a truck’s GPS system to show icons moving around a map of Surrey.
“We thought it was a great thing to offer to the public and I’m quite confident the feedback will be good.”
In the UK, similar systems have been letting people track salt and sand trucks — or gritters, as they’re known there — and many counties have also let locals name them.
While Kerr doesn’t rule out “Spready Mercury,” “Gritney Spears,” “Gritallica” or even “Gritsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Anti-Slip Machiney” eventually rolling on Surrey’s roads, he does say the city already lets elementary classes paint its trucks.
“The plows are sent out and painted prior to each winter season and a lot of the children will see the truck going down the street and know that was one they actually helped paint. And the school kids love it, they have an absolute blast. The last few years we’ve had some fantastic paintings and murals on our snow plows.”
Surrey has 63 pieces of winter maintenance equipment ready for whatever this coming winter dishes out, along with a stockpile of roughly 17,000 tonnes of salt.
-With files from Marcella Bernardo