News

Chambersburg turns the corner in snow removal

Written by Vicky Taylor/Chambersburg Public Opinion | Jan 27, 2016 8:04 AM
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A crew from Affordable Excavating & Hauling, Inc., remove snow Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016 at South Third Street, Chambersburg. (Photo: Markell DeLoatch, Markell DeLoatch/Public Opinion)

 

 

(Chambersburg) -- People in Chambersburg are still trying, with varying degrees of success, to dig out following a massive weekend  snow storm that saw blizzard conditions and in some areas dumped almost three feet of snow on the ground.

At the height of the storm, snow was coming down so fast that efforts were limited to opening roads so emergency vehicles and crews could reach people that were stranded or had medical or other emergencies.

Once the storm was over, road crews in Chambersburg and its surrounding townships went to work with a vengeance to try to open and clear roads, but the job was massive.

In Chambersburg, where the borough maintains 58 miles of streets plus parks, parking lots and walkways, road crews started early to get ready for the storm, but by Sunday snow was falling faster than it could be plowed and it seemed like a losing battle. So Emergency Management Coordinator David Finch pulled back crews for safety reasons.

"There was zero visibility and plows could not see the streets," said Borough Manager Jeffrey Stonehill.

One plow got stuck at one point, but the borough's highway department was able to free it fairly quickly and plows were available to help the borough's fire department get to emergency calls.

By the time the storm was over Saturday night, crews were again plowing area roads, but because of the massive amount of snow to move, there were still roads that were not plowed in many areas as of later Sunday, prompting school districts to close schools on Monday, then again Tuesday. Chambersburg and other district schools are again closed Wednesday.

Hamilton Township Secretary Deb Hollenshead said that township's 70-plus miles of roads had all been plowed at least once by the end of the day Monday. Road crews spent Tuesday trying to move piles of plowed snow out of the roadways and widening the travel lanes.

"They worked Friday night and early Saturday until things got so severe," she said. "Then we pulled our crews at the request of police and the county's emergency services, but they were still available to plow roads ahead of emergency vehicles."

She said the storm was so intense and winds were blowing the snow, making it difficult for road crews manning the plows and other equipment to even see the roads.

In the borough, road crews were having the same problem. Sunday was spent plowing as many roads as possible, but on Monday there was still a lot of work to be done.

By Tuesday morning plows were crisscrossing the borough trying to widen the roads that had been plowed and get anything that had been missed.

In at least one instance, a resident that lives on Channing Drive in The Enclave on the southwest side of town said that road was not plowed as of Tuesday morning, but that residents got together Monday and shoveled a path down the middle of the road to get out to the main road.

Stonehill said that road was plowed once Monday and then re-plowed again sometime Tuesday. He said a contractor was out in the neighborhood Tuesday afternoon trying to remove some of the accumulated plowed snow and take it to the borough farm near the town's sewer treatment plant on Hollywell Road, where the borough is putting the extra snow that is being taken off the streets.

"We certainly appreciate all the wonderful help of our citizens, pitching in, helping neighbors, keeping snow out of the street, uncovering hydrants, and really working together to address one of the worst storms in recorded history," Stonehill said.

He said he thinks the borough has "turned the corner" with its efforts to clear the borough's roads, alleys, parks and parking lots of snow, but said there is still much work to be done before road crews can consider their jobs done, at least as far as Winter Storm Jonas is concerned.

"Our efforts will continue as full speed for as long as it takes," he said.

*This article is part of a content-sharing partnership between WITF and theChambersburg Public Opinion.

 

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