Snowfall a challenge for D.C. plows
The sheer volume of the snow that has accumulated in the District since last Friday has added a challenge to clearing the streets, city officials said Thursday.
"This is no longer just a plow operation," said Gabe Klein, director of the District Department of Transportation. "There is too much snow accumulation on some streets for the plows to adequately move the snow, the snow has to be physically removed and hauled away. This will add some time to our cleanup efforts but we have crews working around-the-clock to minimize how long and to assist us in being as efficient as possible."
Mayor Adrian M. Fenty said the back-to-back storms delivered nearly 30 inches of snow in the city.
"Crews have been working non-stop since nearly a week ago and will continue to do so as we are dedicated to clearing city roadways and neighborhood streets," Fenty said.
In addition to 250 to 270 pieces of equipment for plowing and treating roadways, the city has deployed specialized equipment such as backhoes, frontloaders, dump trucks, and dumpsters.
"Two day ago we sent significant resources east of the river to a neighborhood called Benning Ridge whose streets are particularly hilly and plows couldn't get up them," said John Lisle, DDOT spokesman. "We sent a front-end loader to deal with it."
Lisle reacted to an email sent to The Washington Post by a man who said he lived in Columbia Heights. The man wrote that he'd heard from "a very good friend works for the DDOT as an emergency coordinator" that the mayor had ordered plows "to plow only in the Wards of 2, 3, and 4," the city's more affluent neighborhoods.
"That is incredibly untrue," Lisle said. "There are streets throughout the city that still need attention. I just got an e-mail from someone in Georgetown who hasn't been plowed.
"Our snow removal plan doesn't have a big doughnut hole in it that's the area we don't plow. It has nothing to do with where you live. ... We attack every neighborhood at the same time. There's no conspiracy here."
For storms of 18 inches or more the District's goal is to clear major corridors and roadways within 36 hours and to reach residential streets within 60 hours.
"DPW is working citywide plowing, salting and hauling snow. We also are emptying downtown street litter cans," said Department of Public Works Director William O. Howland, Jr. "We will announce our trash collection plan for Friday and next week later today."
-- Ashley Halsey III
February 11, 2010; 2:28 PM ET
Categories: Advisories , Weather , highways | Tags: District Department of Transportation
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