Mayor Asks Governor for Additional Plows to Help With Massive Clearing

Nearly all Middletown roads are passable, Mayor Dan Drew says, but it may take up to a week to fully clear streets of a historic amount of snow after this past weekend's blizzard.


Update 7 p.m.

Mayor Dan Drew says the state has approved his request for aid:

I am pleased to inform you that our request to the State of Connecticut for four pay loaders and two rubber-wheeled excavators with operators was approved by the State of Connecticut this evening.

We continue to make progress and I am extremely appreciative of your patience.

Update 3:38 p.m.

Editor's Note: Mayor Drew has posted an update on the city's snow-clearing efforts. He has made a formal request to the governor for additional equipment once state plows have finished clearing the highways and become available.

We continue to make progress and have requested assistance from the state of Connecticut.

At this time, the vast majority of our streets are “passable,” but some secondary and tertiary streets have not yet been plowed and we are getting crews to those as quickly as we can.

By passable we mean that a vehicle can get down the street if need be, but “passable” does not mean the road is entirely clear or easy to traverse.

Dead ends and cul-de-sacs are taking a very long time to clear and crews are working on those areas today. There are a small number of streets city-wide that have not yet been made passable and our crews are working to get to them as quickly as possible.

When every road is passable we will focus on the process of widening streets so they have at least two clear lanes of traffic. That process will take several days as we remove snow.

We have been following our emergency operations plan since Friday, and we continue to make progress. To put it in perspective, we received an entire winter’s worth of snow between Friday and Saturday mornings.

We have heard from many people on residential streets that they have not seen a plow truck since Friday evening. The reason is that our first priorities were clearing main roads, the hospital, our fire departments, and police station while simultaneously ensuring that police, medical, and firepersonnel could reach 911 callers.

Fire trucks and ambulances were getting stuck in major snowdrifts during and after the storm. Our Public Works Department has been escorting police vehicles, fire trucks, and ambulances to 911 calls since the onset of the storm. They have also cleared paths for CL&P crews to the 350 power outages the city experienced.

We have also brought in additional contractors since the start of the storm to assist the Public Works Department. It will take the better part of a week to clear the streets entirely.

Our cleanup is also being slowed by the freezing rain that is falling now and making the snow heavier.

We remind residents to shovel their roofs and clear decks if possible to prevent collapses.

We are imploring you to stay off the streets. Vehicular and pedestrian traffic is slowing the city’s cleanup and with the onset of rain it will become even more difficult.

I thank you all for your patience and understanding as we continue to clear out from this massive and historic snowstorm.

This is a challenging time for us but we are working hard and we will get through it together.

Original version

Though the city was able to make most of its roads passable by Sunday night town crews will spend the better part of a week to fully clear the massive amount of snow dumped on Middletown from this weekend’s blizzard, the mayor told reporters Monday morning.

“We didn’t make our goal entirely, but we are very close,” Mayor Dan Drew told reporters at a Monday morning press conference, but added that “The vast majority of city streets are passable.”

Drew spoke at city hall, flanked by the heads of parks and recreation, water and sewer, public works, emergency management, sanitation, the city fire and South Fire chiefs, fire marshal and police chief.

That’s not to say roads are cleared, Drew stressed, noting the distinction. “Passable,” he says, “means we can … get an emergency vehicle through without the assistance of public works.”

Middletown Public Schools are closed again Tuesday.

Cul de sacs and dead-end streets are the focus of city plow trucks today, Drew said. Two portions of Middletown, “the blue area at Wesleyan Hills,” and Briarwood Lane are not yet cleared and are presenting challenges.

All this snow is being carted by dump trucks to Veterans Park, Drew said. The city land off Newfield Street in Middletown is more than 40 acres.

Meanwhile, Fire Marshal Al Santostefano urged those who can safely get up onto flat roofs to clear them if possible, saying rainfall is adding to the weight of the snow.

“This definitely trumps ’78,” Santostefano said. It was bad, “but this definitely tops it.”

Acting Public Works Director Bob Dobmeier said 30 plows are out on the streets, and they have been going since Friday morning.

He asked residents to clear catch basins of snow and debris if possible, since steady rain is causing snow to melt and may flood streets if they are blocked. Temperatures have risen, he said, which makes freezing less likely.

Police Chief William McKenna cautioned citizen to stay off the streets, both walkers and drivers, unless it is absolutely necessary.

McKenna said two pregnant mothers about to deliver were safely brought to the hospital during the storm. “A three-week-old infant this morning ran out of baby formula and the health department called police, who are delivering it as we speak.”

Related stories

  • Drew: 100% of City Streets to be Passable by Late Sun
  • Historic Blizzard Buries Middletown
  • City Digging Out to Get Middletown 'Back to Normal'
  • Mayor Advises Residents to Stay Home as Freezing Rain Falls
Amy February 11, 2013 at 10:52 PM
We're with you, Mr. Mayor! We appreciate the unprecedented nature of the snow storm and removal process. Although we are not plowed out yet, we appreciate how hard Mayor Drew and all the city employees have been working. We will continue to wait patiently, knowing there are challenges citywide.
Snowed In February 11, 2013 at 11:19 PM
We are still not plowed yet everybody;Luckily I walked to work but the rest of my family couldn't go to work. I do give kudos to all the public works efforts; but I would of liked to have seen some leadership in what roads and when will be plowed, perhaps on there website and/or when I called the public works for assistance, it didn't seem very organized and a waste of resources too....perhaps this is the storm to works out the mistakes for the next storms to follow.
Joann February 12, 2013 at 12:57 AM
so true. most roads are not passable. Why would they plow spencer school parking lot and not the streets? Lower Barbara rd not done,broadview pkwy not done. When I say not done I mean not touched.
Joann February 12, 2013 at 01:14 AM
I was told today when I called the Mayors office that the clearing of snow from the middle of Main Street was because of the fire trucks. Wow they can get out but they won't be able to get very far. Most streets not passable.
DannieBoyDrew February 12, 2013 at 05:54 PM
Dear Mr. Governor Hi my name is danny. I am the mayor of a place called middletown. Isn't that great? I love to write press releases about how good I am and all the wonderful things I do. Some people don't like that but I just ignore 'em. anyway, during the snow storm, I was busy writing press releases and playing with my video games. No one told me I was supposed to have a plan about getting the streets plowed. Now these whiners are complaining because their streets aren't plowed - like it's my fault that it snowed over there house or something. I'm in a bit of a jam here. I gotta look good so I can get a big job on somebody's coat tails. I'm real good at that by the way (wink wink just in case you have a job opening). Can you send some of your big toys for the DPW guys to play with? A few loaders and plows ought to do the trick. Thanks for helping a fellow Danny out. from dannie drew


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