Last year, Mayor Ravenstahl, dissatisfied with snow removal operations, challenged the Department of Public Works (DPW) to develop a new and better plan for clearing City streets. That plan is now ready to be tested.
"The 2008-2009 winter season will begin a new era in the City of Pittsburgh's Snow and Ice Control program," said Mayor Ravenstahl. "We've designed a plan to enable us to deliver services better to make our streets safer. We have more and improved equipment, as well as a smarter approach to implementation. We are ready for the snow."
The City has increased its salting and plowing capabilities by 75 percent through an improved and expanded 42-piece small equipment fleet, up from 24 pieces. This fleet consists of one-ton trucks and pick-up trucks, all with spreaders and plows. The increase of small equipment enables the department to maximize the use of personnel, since there is no commercial driver's license requirement for this equipment. This, along with its 48-piece large unit fleet, will provide the DPW with the snow fighting tools it needs to battle a storm.
The most significant change in the 2008-2009 Snow and Ice Control Program will be the way resources are deployed, maximizing all manpower and equipment in response to a snow event. The larger pieces of equipment will be fully manned and will concentrate on primary streets; simultaneously, personnel will be assigned to small equipment, enabling snow removal operations to immediately begin on secondary routes. The previous plan called for first responders to concentrate entirely on clearing primary roads. Once the primary roads were cleared, only then was equipment sent to secondary routes.
"The old response time to secondary roads will be cut dramatically," said Rob Kaczorowski, deputy director operations, DPW. "In addition, staff members, who are not involved in the clearing of streets, will be deployed using non-essential equipment, such as two-wheel drive dump trucks and pick-ups. These employees will clear City sidewalks, steps, crosswalks, senior centers, recreation centers, and other City facilities.
"We know that some streets will be first and some streets will be last, but this way, the time between will be greatly reduced."
Currently, City salt domes and stock piles are being replenished. According to Kaczorowski, the City is at 80 percent maximum capacity, and will have a completely replenished storage stock of 24,000 tons before the end of November. The City is obligated to purchase a minimum of 27,000 tons of salt, with the option to purchase up to 63,000 tons if it is an extraordinary winter. In addition to salt and calcium chloride, there is a plan in place to try Anti-skid, a gritty, slag-type mixture to increase traction.
The regular round-the-clock snow schedule officially begins on December 1, but Kaczorowski said that the City is ready should it snow this weekend. "Our supervisors are on call and will be watching the forecast. If it snows, everything is in place and ready to be deployed."
Calls to the City regarding plowing and salting should not be made, and will not be accepted, during the storm. Calls will be accepted and logged in 24 hours after the end of the storm. City residents whose roads are not cleared in a timely manner should call 311 or 412-255-2621.
Weather and road conditions aren't the only concerns people face at this time of year.
"Winter, as well as the holidays, can be tough on some folks," said the Mayor. "We want our citizens to stay warm, nourished and safe, so we're offering information on utilities assistance, food and nutrition assistance, and holiday safety."
All of the information is available on the City's website (www.pghgov.com) – just click on the "Helping Families Face the Winter" button. In addition, City residents can get information through TV spots that are airing on the City's Cable Channel, fliers that are available at the Mayor's 311 Response Center in the City-County Building, or by simply calling 311. The Mayor's staff will also be distributing fliers at community meetings and senior centers.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Office of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl
512 City County Building | 414 Grant Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
telephone: 412-255-2626 | facsimile: 412-255-2687