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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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.