Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Icy Roads

I'm guessing that the city is all out of salt and sand, and that the plows are defective. I don't know how else to explain what I saw today.

I drove up to UConn-Storrs this morning, first carefully navigating Waterbury's roads. My street was a long stretch of packed-down snow. Not too terrible, considering that it's a one-way street sloping downwards. Walnut Street, a steep downhill, was (thankfully!) clear. Welton Street looked like it had been plowed once and then sanded once. For the most part, it was a sandy slush. The rest of my route to 84-East was pretty much a mix of those three streets.

I was amazed when I got up to UConn. Every street was clear and dry. Every sidewalk had been plowed/shoveled. It was an absolute delight!

On the return trip to Waterbury, the roads were all fine until I got into the city. I nearly crashed my car twice, at intersections where the roads were sheets of ice. It's very difficult to stop your car, even when you're going only 20 mph, when you're driving on a sheet of ice.

These weren't minor side roads. The first icy intersection was at the end of the off-ramp for exit 24 (Plank and Harper's Ferry Roads). The second one was on East Main Street at Route 69. The second one was worse than the first. I did a little bit of fishtailing in addition to sliding forward, even though I had been going maybe 22 when I started to break. It was a little scary.

On the plus side (if you can call it that), when I got home one of my neighbors told me that the city never used to plow our street. So at least they sort of plow it now. The problem, I guess, has to do with the size of the plow trucks. Earlier this winter, the plow driver told me that the city plows are really too large for my street. They can barely squeeze between the cars, and the drivers have zero visibility for any fine-tuned maneuvering.

So why is that UConn, which is so strapped for cash their president wants to shut down their museums, is able to do a good job of snow removal while Waterbury, which is supposedly doing okay financially, has icy streets that are a serious safety hazard?


Anonymous said...

Some of the intersections/streets you're talking about are state roads. The city Department of Public Works gets to them after its own duties because the state DOT chronically ignores them in favor of the Interstates.

UConn might be closing museums, but it's not all that cost conscious when it comes to deploying its forces. UConn also has far less than 300 center-line miles of tough terrain to hit.

The better comps are cities like Hatford which didn't even mobilize during the storm. They didn't start plowing the residential sections until after the snow event ended.

The city of Waterbury has vehicles of differing sizes in its fleet. If you notice that a tri-axle is still working your area and it's inappropriate to the width, don't hesitate to contact the city so the appropriate adjustment in deployment can be made.

Anonymous said...

I also noticed the city ran out of salt and sand. This usually happens every year around September or October.