Storm continues to affect University, cities

By Daily Illini Staff Report

All classes at the University of Illinois were once again cancelled Wednesday as the city of Champaign and the City of Urbana struggled to clear the main roads and sidewalks blanketed by yesterday’s heavy snowfall.

A mass e-mail announced that all classes at the University would be cancelled for a second consecutive day around 7 p.m. Tuesday. The mass e-mail said that high winds and snow had made it impossible to keep streets and sidewalks clear and safe.

The University is now focused on clearing the streets to ensure the safety of pedestrians and drivers.

Robin Kaler, University spokesman, said there’s a good chance classes will resume tomorrow.

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

A 22 Illini bus became stuck in over a foot of snow at the corner of First and Daniel streets Wednesday afternoon.

At approximately 2:30 p.m., the bus driver attempted to turn off of First Street onto Daniel Street when the wheels got caught in a snow bank. After the bus driver realized he was stuck “he tried rocking back and forth to get the bus out. He had to get out of the bus and try to shovel himself out,” said Kirk Vander Pas, sophomore in LAS, who saw the incident take place.

Traffic was delayed on both First and Daniel Streets, and another 22 Illini bus had to reroute to John Street in order to bypass the stationary bus. After clearing a path, the driver was able to maneuver the bus onto Daniel Street and resume his scheduled route.

The Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District began running 22 Illini busses today at 1 p.m., in order to allow time for the streets to be cleared.

The MTD’s protocol for removing a bus caught in a snowbank is to send out a maintenance truck to tow the bus back to the station. If too many busses are inconvenienced by snow, then operations will cease service for the day, an MTD employee said.

According to a press release issued by the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit Distrct, The Loop and Scamp ceased operating at around noon today. The Quad and the 26 Pack routes will not be operating today. Check the MTD Website for further information on local routes.

All County and state routes in Champaign County were still impassable or extremely dangerous according to a press release issued by Champaign County Emergency Management Agency at 4:30 a.m. The agency discourages people from traveling on rural roads outside the city.

Dena Schumacher, city of Champaign public information officer, said the city has hired private contractors to remove snow from cul-de-sacs or minor roads while the city’s public works crew workers continue to clear snow from major roads.

The seven primary routes of Champaign are now passable. By midnight tonight, most secondary streets will be passable as well. Salting will begin on primary streets once temperatures rise.

Cars are getting stuck in the snow, impeding the plows. Cars have been towed to Lot E, to the Champaign Police Department on First street north of University Ave. Individuals can call the police department at (217)351-4545 to find out whether their car is in the lot.

Leslie Stratton, Urbana operations supervisor said all of the primary and secondary roads are now open, including Green Street, Lincoln Avenue and Springfield Avenue. Urbana is now plowing residential roads.

“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.”

Keep checking with the Daily Illini for updates throughout the day.

Andrea Cheng, Ryan Davis and Ashley Sheriff contributed to this report.