Champaign, Urbana continue clearing streets, sidewalks

Urbana firefighters Keith Schafroth, left, and Greg Ritchie dig out the fire hydrant in front of ISR on Green Street Wednesday, February 14, 2007. Schafroth said they had been digging out hydrants for “3 and 1/2 hours before lunch, took a break, at went ME Online

By Andrea Cheng

University classes were canceled Feb. 14 due to the hazardous road conditions. On Feb. 14, the University was focused on clearing the streets to ensure the safety of pedestrians and vehicles.

Robin Kaler, University spokesperson, said the chance of another snow day is very unlikely.

“The storm is over and the wind has died down,” Kaler said.

University employees have also been working to clear the snow on campus roadways and sidewalks.

The public works department of the cities of Champaign and Urbana had their hands full making sure the streets were passable.

By 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Champaign’s primary routes became passable, including Windsor and Duncan roads, Kirby, Springfield, University, Bradley and Mattis avenues and Neil Street. The City of Champaign is anticipating that by 12 a.m. on Feb. 15, most secondary streets will also be passable.

Salting will begin on primary streets once the temperature rises. Currently, 50 percent of secondary streets have at least one lane open.

Dena Schumacher, City of Champaign public information officer, said the city has hired private contractors to remove snow from culs-de-sac and minor roads while the city’s public works crew continues to clear snow from major roads.

“We’re strongly encouraging people to stay indoors and be patient,” Schumacher said. “Systemically, we’re going through the City of Champaign, plowing and removing the snow.”

If an emergency arises, fire and emergency vehicles meet with snow plows. The snow plows clear the snow and lead the way to the emergency. According to a City of Champaign press release, 20 rescues have been made since the storm began.

Cars are getting stuck in the snow, consequently impeding the snow plows from doing their job. Stalled and abandoned cars have been relocated to Lot E, north of the Champaign Police Department on First Street and University Avenue. Residents may call the Champaign Police Department at (217) 351-4545 to confirm the relocation of their car. They will not be charged financially.

In the City of Urbana, all of the primary and secondary roads are now open and easy to navigate. Primary roads include Green Street and Lincoln and Springfield avenues. Secondary roads consist of streets near schools, businesses and hospitals. Currently, Urbana is plowing residential roads.

Leslie Stratton, Urbana operations supervisor, is handling the city’s situation. He said they are behind on clearing snow from culs-de-sac, but they plan to have them cleared by midnight of Feb. 15. As for residential roads, they will be making multiple trips to plow snow as close to the curb as possible.

“Our goal is to get as much off the centers of the streets,” Stratton said. “We will be making trips today and tomorrow and if necessary, make trips again on Friday.”