Plows are getting to the side streets


March 16, 1993|By Peter Jensen | Peter Jensen,Staff Writer Staff writers Darren Allen, Sherry Joe, John Rivera, Larry Carson, Robert A. Erlandson and Karin Remesch contributed to this article.

Nearly 48 hours after the last snowflake fell in the Blizzard of '93, exhausted Baltimore area road crews were still plowing and salting snow-covered thoroughfares yesterday, but with the focus shifted from major arteries to side streets.

The weekend's arctic temperatures and strong winds proved to be a double whammy for road-clearing efforts, leaving pockets of deep snow and tough veneers of ice. Baltimore County crews had to bring in front-end loaders to free six rural north county roads where snow drifts reached 10 feet high.

On many of the minor streets in the Baltimore area. It was a bumpy and icy ride. Shopping centers created piles of snow large enough to qualify as ski jumps; sidewalks were impassable and workers resorted to pick-axes to dislodge ice.

In many places, the plow was a mixed blessing. It made the roads passable but encased parked cars, or driveways that had been painstakingly dug out by homeowners, behind walls of snow and ice.

Baltimore County officials also were fielding a few complaints about parked cars and mailboxes hit by plows. To others, the plows couldn't come fast enough. An aide in Council Chairman Charles A. Dutch Ruppersberger's northern 3rd District office told of a caller demanding, "I pay my taxes and I want my street cleaned -- now!"

Most Anne Arundel County Council aides reported only a call or two of complaint about unplowed roads or plowed-in driveways, taking that as a sign that residents were for the most satisfied with the government's efforts.

Still, there was concern some residents may be storing up complaints for the next time they see their council representative in person. "What happens is that someone will come up to us at a meeting during the summer and say, 'Your plow blocked in my driveway' " last winter, said Sharon Chewning, an aide to Councilman Edward Middlebrooks, whose district includes Severn and part of Glen Burnie. "We hear about it way after the fact."

/# "Some people want their streets


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to be plowed, some people don't because they'll get trapped in their cars or in their driveway," said George G. Balog, Baltimore public works director. "We can't win with that."

Leon Tetkoski of Highlandtown and his daughter, Beth, spent two days carefully picking inch by inch at a mound of ice and snow that had been plowed against her compact car. "The snow, it was up to about here," he said yesterday, pointing to a spot about six inches below the roof of the Honda parked on Conkling Street.

Hampering city cleanup efforts have been the numerous cars left parked along snow routes. The city's "flexible" policy on ticketing and towing will change today, Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke warned: "If people are in the travel lanes, we're going to tow them."

The Mass Transit Administration restored service on all but four bus lines, while snow on Howard Street caused light rail delays.

The blizzard will likely be remembered not only for its inconvenience, but for its cost in salt and sweat. The State Highway Administration expects to spend $7 million on snow cleanup efforts statewide.

2& "It's going to be a very expensive

storm, primarily because the major attack was over a weekend that means most everyone was on overtime," said Liz Kalinowski, an SHA spokeswoman.

Mr. Balog said the city has already spent $800,000 on cleanup efforts since Friday, bringing total snow removal costs for the winter to $1.8 million -- about $200,000 more than was budgeted.

, Baltimore County also has ex

hausted its $1 million storm emergency fund. The $400,000 spent over the weekend means the county has spent $1.2 million FTC on snow removal, according to Gene L. Neff, the county's public works director.

Anne Arundel County officials estimate that clearing roads cost $206,000 for this storm, a big chunk of the $280,000 snow removal budget, bringing the total to $435,000.

Carroll figures weren't available.

Howard County's efforts fell somewhere between $100,000 and $200,000, according to Alan Ferragamo, the county's highways chief.

In Harford County, the storm has cost about $400,000 so far.

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