Urbana still working to get snow off streets

By Jenette Sturges

A flurry of snow-related information blew into the Urbana City Council Monday night, when the City of Urbana Public Works department released their blizzard summary for last week’s storm. According to the report, which was prepared by the Director of Public Works Bill Gray, 13.5 inches of snow fell on Urbana by Thursday, Feb. 15. By Friday, Feb. 16, all city streets had been plowed back as far as possible.

During the storm, Urbana Public Works crews plowed streets and responded to medical emergencies and one car fire.

“It was quite an event to behold,” Gray said. “In the initial snow events, we had people that did not go back to their home. They stayed overnight at Public Works, just because they needed to be ready for their next shift.”

The city’s current concern is with streets where cars have been parked during the past week, prohibiting the passage of snow plows.

Public Works is currently working to push snow to the curb to allow melted snow to drain into the sewer system and prevent flooding.

“Because of the melting and refreezing at night, it is a dangerous situation,” Gray said.

“There was one snow removal shortfall,” said Brandon Bowersox, Ward 4.

“I think neighbors would appreciate some conversation about clearing the sidewalks,” he said.

The council will review city policy on sidewalk clearing in upcoming weeks. The city removed 15,000 cubic yards of snow, with the total cost of last week’s storms being $169,800.

The city also voted in favor of a measure requested by the University that would allow neighborhood electric vehicles, or “mini trucks” to drive on Urbana streets within the University district. The University’s new mini trucks, already in use on campus, reach a maximum speed of 25 mph and can run for 40 miles without recharging. They will replace gas-operated trucks that get about 7 miles per gallon.