Annapolis asks: Once it's been plowed, where should it go?

City turns to owners of vacant lots for solution

February 13, 2010|By Andrea F. Siegel

As plows dug into neighborhood streets in Annapolis on Friday - most for the first time since two storms dropped 42 inches of snow on the city in a week - officials began to hunt for places to put it.

"We are literally running out of space to pile snow," said city spokesman Phill McGowan. "We were piling it at the boat ramp at Truxtun Park, but that's almost full."

He said Mayor Josh Cohen and other city officials called business owners and owners of vacant lots starting Friday morning, looking for areas in and near the city. Dumping it in Ego Alley is not an option because the ice can damage boats. Room to pile snow on narrow side streets is severely limited.

The snow can't be dumped in fields because the ground is soggy. "You are going to get stuck in the ground. These are 20-ton dump trucks," McGowan said. "That's why we need hard surfaces."

With main thoroughfares and streets that feed into neighborhoods plowed, "we are now turning our attention to neighborhood streets. We have much of the city to plow," McGowan said.

Officials are asking residents to move their vehicles off the streets if possible to make plowing easier and faster. Some of the snow has ice crusted on it, which also poses challenges for plows.

The Department of Public Works had expected to be plowing through the weekend, but more snow, predicted for Monday, could result in more delays reaching neighborhoods because equipment will be diverted to keeping the main roads open, he said.

Between city equipment and contractors hired early in the week, Annapolis has 41 pieces of snow-removal and salting equipment, more than three times the 12 city trucks it was using a week ago.

The city has had about 62 inches of snow in the three major storms of the winter, which officials said is more than they were equipped to handle.

City officials expect to try to recoup much of their costs from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The city, which budgeted $80,000 for snow removal this season, spent $140,000 on the Dec. 19 storm. McGowan said the cost of the two storms this week could reach $500,000.

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