Md. legislators protest snow response
Whether they had a tough time getting to work or never made it out of their neighborhoods in the first place, many people looked for ways to effectively vent their anger about the pace of the storm cleanup.
I heard from travelers and would-be travelers everywhere, so I offer what follows only as an example.
Residents in many Montgomery County neighborhoods said they hadn't seen a plow or considered the plowing ineffective. Montgomery County's snow line was overwhelmed with phone calls. Officials asked people to hold off on calling.
Others said the main roads, handled by the State Highway Administration, were barely passable. That's what General Assembly members representing the 16th Legislative District in Montgomery County heard about, and they wrote a letter of protest to State Highway Administrator Neil J. Pedersen.
Here's a portion of the letter signed by Sen. Brian E. Frosh, Del. William A. Bronrott, Del. C. William Frick and Del. Susan C. Lee of the 16th Legislative District, which includes Bethesda, Glen Echo and Cabin John and parts of Chevy Chase, Kensington, Potomac, and Rockville.
Dear Mr. Pedersen:
On behalf of our beleaguered constituents, we are writing to express their frustration and disappointment with the current status of snow removal operations in our district. Four days after this storm, the condition of major arteries such as Wisconsin Avenue, Bradley Boulevard and River Road are dangerous and, in some cases, nearly impassable. We understand that this was a storm of epic proportions, however, our constituents deserve better driving conditions on state-owned roads.
With another major storm forecast for our region, we are concerned that our constituents will be facing even more treacherous conditions on these state roadways. We ask that you make these and our other major state arteries a priority in the next 24 hours.
I understand their concern. It's well-placed. It has been difficult and sometimes treacherous to travel on those roads since the storm ended, and it probably will be again over the next day. But I think they're moving too quickly past the "epic proportions" part in their description of the storm. This storm would have been a knock-down blow in any urban area of this country.
I asked SHA for a response to the letter, and Pedersen made these points in a statement:
This was a historic storm with historic challenges.
Following the massive storm, which produced as much as 35-40 inches in some areas, the temperatures plummeted and the snow turned to thick ice and snow pack. Given the magnitude of this storm, it is unrealistic to expect bare pavement in every area or that snow could be cleared from every lane.
SHA crews worked tirelessly the past five days, sleeping a few hours in their trucks as they pushed back as much snow as possible. Every state highway has had snow plowed multiple times during and after the storm.
Eventually, the snow plows could not push the thick ice and snow pack, and SHA had to use front end loaders and graders, some brought in from as far away as New York, to chop up the ice pack. In some cases, snow has had to be trucked away one dump truck at a time.
Crews spent a good deal of the weekend and Monday working around and rescuing stranded motorists who never should have gone out during the storm.
We appreciate motorists' patience as we continue clean up from a storm that produced up to three feet of snow and as we prepare for a second massive winter storm.
February 9, 2010; 5:10 PM ET
Categories: Transportation Politics , Weather | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, snowstorm
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