AKRON, Ohio — The City of Akron has revamped its snow removal plan in recent years after the city had problems clearing streets after a snowstorm in 2019.
Mayor Dan Horrigan said like many other cities across Northeast Ohio, last week’s storm was an exceptional amount of snow over a short period of time. As a result, it took some time to clear roadways.
That sheer volume, you know that one Sunday, when everybody woke up and found a foot and a half of snow. So (that was) a lot of snow to move,” Horrigan said. “We brought in private contractors to help move some of that snow in areas where we don't have to plow, too. So, we're not sparing any expense to make sure that we can move that and keep it moving.
Right now, the mayor said the key when it comes to snow removal is patience.
“I know there's people that are always going to be able to complain and I get it because you get frustrated that you can't get out and get somewhere,” Horrigan said. “But the one thing out of this thing is that you cannot control is the sheer volume of snow.”
Last week, the city posted on its Facebook page there were “unforeseen staffing issues” with the night crew. There are currently 52 trucks working continuously and addressing service calls.
“This is about 110 people with mechanics, people servicing trucks, drivers and supervisors out there, you know, in a Level 4 event,” Horrigan said. “So, it's something that we put a significant number of resources in because obviously, people want their street plowed and we want to get it done as quickly as possible.”
Back in 2019, the city issued an apology for falling short on its response, leaving drivers and school buses stuck several days after a major storm.
Later that year, the mayor issued a five-point plan to create a snow and ice task force. The task force promised more trucks and an online system to let residents know when their streets will be cleared.
“We redid that strategy of how quickly we get into residential streets, which we all agree we need to be able to get in there quicker. But we got to make sure they have somewhere to go,” Horrigan said. “So, cleaning their one street so they can get to the main street was just as important as them getting out of the driveway.”
Since then, the city has grown its fleet by adding two snowplows and five salt spreaders. Then trucks are also outfitted as plows, each dedicated to a specific city ward for service requests. Akron officials are trying to secure more trucks, but orders paced over the summer have yet to arrive because of supply chain issues.
“We still have a, you know, a good amount, 55 or 60 trucks, but even looking to deploy more just because this is Northeast Ohio, we're going to get snow,” Horrigan said. “We've had some light winters, but you got to be ready for the big ones.”
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