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Shaker Heights snowplow drivers ask residents for patience

Posted at 5:12 PM, Dec 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-03 19:47:21-05

SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio — Tuesday’s snowstorm brought dumped more than a foot of snow on the Shaker Heights area in under 24 hours.

“It was hard to keep up with,” plow driver Craig Williams said. “I could go up Shaker Boulevard and by the time I came back down westbound, you could not tell that I had been there.”

Despite those efforts, some Shaker Heights residents were not pleased with the road conditions and took to social media to voice those complaints.

“There were some residents that were upset and visibly so,” Assistant Director of Operations John Becker said.

However, some people came to the defense of the Public Works Department and asked their neighbors to be patient.

“I’ve never had an opportunity in 12 years, I think, where we’ve needed to complain about the service department,” Erskine Bevel said.

Williams has been a snowplow driver for more than two decades and said Tuesday’s nonstop snowfall preceded by days of excessive rain made for some of the worst road conditions he had ever seen.

“In my 20 plus years of plowing, this ranks in the top three to five incidents that I’ve worked in,” Williams said. “Superheavy, dense snow. We had a sheet of ice underneath. It was just very difficult going trying to plow.”

Some residents suggested online that the city’s Public Works Department is understaffed, but Becker said that is not the case.

“We had 13 salting trucks out. We had three front loaders out. We had a backhoe out. We had five to six pickup trucks, sidewalk cars,” Becker said. “23 to 25 employees during the entire storm itself.”

Martin Flynn is a longtime Shaker Heights resident and said he witnessed snowplow drivers working diligently for hours outside his front window.

“So you’ve just gotta accept that with a really heavy snowfall like this, we’re not going to recover from it and look like July in an hour,” Flynn said.