Hayden rips criticism of ice clearing on roads

January 26, 1994|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,Staff Writer

Baltimore County Executive Roger B. Hayden yesterday said that road salt just wouldn't "cut the ice" during last week's arctic weather, but his reaction to critics of the county's highway clearing suggested that salt may have been poured in an old wound.

During his weekly radio call-in show, he charged that newspaper coverage of the county's efforts was "really disturbing," and complained that the "papers picked on Baltimore County."

Mr. Hayden said that criticism of his administration was actually "a real slap in the face to our people," and said the county had "the largest number of trucks on the road in the history of Baltimore County. We spread more salt, sand and slag cinders than ever before. . . ."

He added that the county has spent $618,895 on road clearing, more than half of the $1 million budgeted for storm emergencies this year.

The real problem, he said, was a combination of ice and rain, followed by days of near-zero temperatures.

No amount of salting or plowing would take that ice away once it formed, the executive said, adding that the state dumps four to five times as much salt on its roadways as the county uses.

"State roads are different," he said.

Of the seven callers to the show who spoke about the storm, four were critical of the county's efforts and three defended them.

A caller identified as "Charles of Towson" said he was a 40-year resident and had never seen worse results after a winter storm.

"I didn't see the results of all those trucks you had on the roads," he told Mr. Hayden.

Another caller said that, although the effort was good generally, the county must have forgotten Mays Chapel, Timonium and Padonia roads.

Mr. Hayden said those roads were not forgotten. County officials later said salt trucks made 24 runs on Timonium Road between the storm's start on Jan. 17 and the warm weather that brought relief Monday.

Another caller, "Ed from Hunt Valley," supported Mr. Hayden and said he has never seen such a combination of so much ice and cold weather.

"The Sunpapers is vindictive," he said of the coverage, and he said he had found icy roads in forays into Baltimore and Washington last week.

In Pennsylvania, he said, the roads were much worse.

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