Philadelphia Switching Efforts From Plowing to Salting

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia officials say virtually every city street has been plowed at least once since Wednesday night’s major snowstorm (see previous story), and the remainder of their storm recovery effort will consist of salting the roadways.

Streets commissioner Clarena Tolson says this latest on-again, off-again storm produced a “sandwiching” effect, with a layer of packed ice between the day’s two snowfalls.

She says city plows have already removed the top layer of as much as a foot of snow.  But salting is being done now to remove the hardened ice layer.

And Tolson says as the crews now focus on salting, the big trucks that had plows are returning to trash collection.

“They can’t help us in terms of the hardpack that they are facing right now,” she said on Friday afternoon.  “Right now we’re in the midst of a major salting effort.  There will be some combination of plowing with it, but most of it is salting.”

Tolson says the salting operation is extensive:  “We are simply going back applying and re-applying salt on all of our streets, regardless of the size.”

So far, crews have used nearly 8,500 tons of salt, more than twice what’s used in an average storm with a foot of snow.

Tolson expects that by the end of the operation, crews will used more than the 9,500 tons used in the 1994 ice storm.

The cost to the city of snow removal this year is now put at $6 million — not including this past week’s storms.  The city spent $18 million last winter, which saw three blizzards.

More than a dozen SEPTA bus routes are still not running and others are operating with detours.

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sphillysnow2 dougherty Philadelphia Switching Efforts From Plowing to Salting

Dickinson at 7th Street in South Philadelphia, while plowed, is still covered in snow. (credit: Mike Dougherty)


At 9th and Porter, thick mounds of ice cover the blacktop, making driving a risky proposition, even with four wheel drive.

Residents say plow crews didn’t spend much time in this area.

“We just saw a snow plow from the city come by and they just looked at us and kept going, so as you can see we’re still snowed in here.”

“Very dangerous, very slippery. I can’t imagine driving on it. Maybe in the spring I’ll be able to drive again around here.”

They say clearing all the city streets must be a tough job, but crews could have done better by taking care of the bus routes first so there was at least some way to get around.

Reported by Mike Dunn and Mike Dougherty, KYW Newsradio 1060.

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One Comment


    The Streets Department needs to plow and salt the streets off of Academy Rd./Convent and Outlook. The Septa bus route 19 which should go right through this development isn’t running because it is too icy. What is going to happen on Monday when the kids have to go back to school and rely on those Septa buses traveling along a bus route which can’t drive on Outlook because of the snow. There are other areas and developments like Morrel Avenue which was plowed and that is a Septa route 20 and that is running. PLEASE HELP US OUT OF THE DEVELOPMENTS BEFORE THE NEXT STORM COMES.

  2. JOHN MCMASTER says:

    I think the city did a lousy job in removing the snow If you look at the area where the mayor lives you see black top but all other areas are snow covered.The city needs to learn from the counties that are near by on how to clear snow.If they cant do the job hire contractors why is it the years ago septa did their bus routes but now the city does it.Does not make sense to me.Also why are some state roads like Frankford ave still covered in snow I hope the mayor will go travel the northeast area of philly and see how terrible the roads are

  3. Gwen says:

    Michael Nutter needs to be put out of office, him and John Street were the worse!!! The city was much better when Rizzo was in office !!

  4. Steve M says:

    would love CBS3 to come to 2600 s Juniper st and see the plow job the city did. Well the half they did. Middle of the block still has all the snow the ends were plowed maybe 5 houses in on both sides and then they left and never came back to finish its been this way since the day after the storm. Mayer Nutter i hope you enjoyed your time as Mayor because you will not be re-elected after this and all the other stuff you have done to this city .

  5. haywood says:

    In response to all of the above, you can each take comfort in the fact that the streets of North Philadelphia were well salted, plowed, and very drivable. We don’t take care of the tax payers in this city as much as we do the constituents. Maybe we should institute a 3/5 voting system where tax payers, including those paying the wage tax who live out of town, get a vote.

    1. Rose says:

      I would like to know where in North Philly you live because I live in North Philly and the streets where I live are snow and ice covered.

  6. LauraT says:

    None of the streets in my neighborhood have been plowed or salted even once!! How can they say that?? I’ve called 311 and was told that it would be done within 24 hours, still nothing! I’m taking my life in my hands trying to get to work, I can’t even take a bus if I wanted to because the neighborhood buses are not running due to the poor street conditions! This is disgraceful, where are my tax dollars going???

  7. angry philadelphia says:

    its is sad that the streets of center city Philadelphia were as neglected as they were during this storm. Cars were sliding everywhere . There was a fleet of plows sitting at the corner of 11th and Walnut just sitting there. Could have did a better job

  8. garysellersville says:

    I just drove down to Philadelphia from Bucks County and, I have to tell you, the City is an absolute disgrace. It is horrible. It is a shame the ways One of the most taxed cities in the nation rips off the taxpayer. I’m glad I got the hell out when I did. The streets are absolutely horrible. I can’t say anymore how disgusting it was.

    Former resident.

    1. sheesh says:

      Don’t drive down here anymore, then.

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