From Meriden City Manager:
The rain and ice today are causing additional problems. Along with some street flooding and with the rain turning impacted snow into ice, it is making it difficult even for heavy equipment to maneuver. Crews have been at work with only short rest periods since Friday morning.
Equipment is stressed because of the depth of the snow and the length of time it has been in use and is breaking down with increasing frequency. Main roads are open and frequently traveled secondary roads are almost all open. About 60% of other roads were at least accessible as of this morning. We cannot estimate the time it will take to open up all neighborhoods. Cul de sacs and dead end streets will take longer. All our crews and every private contractor with the right kind of equipment is out trying to make every road accessible and has been doing so since Friday morning.
Public roads are our responsibility and priority. We are not clearing condominiums or private roads. Our first priority is to open up the main roads. That was completed Saturday. That is done while ensuring that emergency medical responders are able to answer calls, which was a major function Friday evening into Saturday. We open up roads that link to public facilities like fire houses, water and sewer facilities and to the hospital and other medical facilities or nursing homes. The next priority is to open up frequently traveled secondary roads that connect to different parts of the city. That is almost complete and should be complete today.
The City is divided into thirteen sectors for the rest of the snow clearing operation. Streets that only connect to self-contained neighborhoods are done after we open more traveled roads. Cul de sacs and dead end streets are generally done after other roads are opened. We have about 200 miles of roadway, including many narrow streets that are very difficult to clear with this amount of snowfall. The accumulated snow is higher than the plow blades on even the big plows and difficult to push. Plows cannot achieve any speed and a one quarter mile of roadway takes about four hours. We have had plows and fire trucks stuck in the snow which is a very unusual occurrence. One experienced driver described it as "ten feet to the left, back up and ten feet to the right" all the way down a roadway.
Some have asked why Hubbard Park was cleared before the other secondary roads. Hubbard Park is where the Parks Department garage is located. We need to clear the roadway in order to get employees in and to get our equipment out. Parks employees keep clearing as they go in and out with equipment. In addition, the Elmere and Merimere water treatment plants are located further up Tower Road. We need to get employees to the treatment plants. Other locations are cleared for similar reasons because of the location of other public facilities- other treatment plants, the sewer plant, pump stations, firehouses, etc. In addition, not all our equipment can be used out on the roadways, so employees with snow blowers, pick-up trucks,
bobcats and similar equipment are assigned to clearing other public facilities, certain school safety sidewalks and other areas like that. Residents can be assured that every plow and every piece of heavy equipment that can clear a road of this amount of snow has been doing just that since Friday morning.
Due to the heavy snow and now rain and ice, we recommend that people inspect their roofs and clear them if possible. Make sure the vents on the outside of your house are free from blockage and remember to clear the snow from around the tailpipe of your car. Also, with the rain making the snow heavier and more compact, snow blowers are clogging up more easily. Never use your hands to try to unclog the snow blower.
For your information, updates are made available on the City website at www.meridenct.gov, on the City Facebook page www.facebook.com/CityofMeridenCT, the City Twitter account @CityofMeriden, and on the City cable access stations – Cox Channel 14 and U-verse Channel 99. We also use the State reverse 911 to convey emergency information.