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Crews working quickly to get snow off streets

February 19, 2003|from Staff reports

Plows, dump trucks, front-end loaders, personal snow blowers and shovels were out in full force Tuesday, but it could be the weekend or later before all side and residential streets in Tri-State towns are cleared, officials say.

  • In Martinsburg, W.Va., clean-up crews first focused on the town's main thoroughfares - King Street, Queen Street and Winchester Avenue.

    Police closed one block of Queen Street at a time, while city and contracted crews loaded the snow into trucks and hauled it to a former landfill off John Street, said City Manager Mark Baldwin.

    Five to 10 days could pass before every city street is cleared, he said.

    To supplement city personnel, City Council members polled by phone Tuesday morning agreed to hire contracted employees from Martinsburg-based Potomac Construction Industries. The company added a loader and two dump trucks to the city's cache of equipment, Baldwin said.

    Despite the help, Baldwin said only a few streets were cleared so well that asphalt was visible.

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"I think it's going to be a slow process," he said. "Most of your residential streets in your back neighborhoods are snow-covered, but still passable."

Crews working 12-hour shifts for the last four days are also starting to feel drained, Baldwin said. City residents have helped, though, by remaining mostly cooperative.

"It's pretty smooth. People are being patient," Baldwin said.

  • In Charles Town, W.Va., block-by-block sections of Washington Street were closed to traffic to allow end-loaders to scoop up the snow and load it onto dump trucks. The dump trucks hauled the snow to a lot next to the old Dixie Narco plant, Charles Town Police Capt. Doug Nichols said.

    Construction crews working on a $5.5 million revitalization of the downtown area teamed with city workers to remove the snow.

    It is not known when the revitalization will resume, Mayor Randy Hilton said.

    All of the town's residential streets had been plowed as of Tuesday afternoon, Hilton said.

    But road crews did not want to push all the snow back for fear it would bury cars parked along streets, Hilton said.

    Road crews plan to let the excess snow along residential streets melt, he said.

    In coming days, snow will also be removed on side streets off Washington Street, Hilton said.

    n In Shepherdstown, W.Va., German Street was passable and a path had been cleared through most of the other streets in town, a town hall spokeswoman said Tuesday.

    Town officials were asking motorists to stay off German Street today to allow workers to remove the snow, the spokeswoman said. It is important to remove the snow on German Street to avoid flooding problems, the spokeswoman said.

    Much of the German Street work had to be delayed until today because the town did not have all the equipment it needed Tuesday and some city workers will still snowed in at their homes, the spokeswoman said.

  • In Chambersburg, Pa., Director of Public Works Bob Wagner said crews were still on the roads Tuesday afternoon, and would likely take a couple of more days to have all the snow off the streets.

    "It's starting to melt off right now, and things are opening up pretty well," Wagner said. "For a while we had a lot of one-lane streets."

    Since Sunday, however, he said the crews have moved a lot of snow from main arteries, and on Tuesday they tackled the side roads and network of alleys that runs through the downtown area.

    "We got them all open with at least one path. The next couple of days we will go through and widen that," he said.

    Crews are expected to work overnight tonight to remove the snow from the metered parking spaces along Main Street and other downtown roads, Wagner said.

    He said the main problem workers have encountered is people throwing snow back into the streets.

    "It happens everywhere. Especially when people think it will melt quicker, but it is still dangerous," Wagner said.

    Snow removal operations in Franklin County led to charges being filed against one man who stood in the way of a plow and then shoveled snow back onto the road, Pennsylvania State Police said.

    Police said the man became upset while workers from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation were plowing the 2900 block of Anthony Highway Monday morning, and allegedly stood in the road and refused to move to allow the plow to pass.

    After allowing the plow by, the man started shoveling snow back on the road, police said.

    Elwood Gray, 42, of Chambersburg, was charged with one count each of disorderly conduct and obstructing highways, police said.

  • In Waynesboro, Pa., few streets and alleys were missed by snow-removal crews, Borough Manager Lloyd Hamberger said.

    "They're all passable if people drive cautiously and slow. Our biggest concern now is flooding if it warms up or rains. We're going to concentrate the rest of the week on making sure the inlets in the storm drain system are clear."

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