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New London’s snowstorm woes

Issues include equipment breakdowns, parked cars

By John Faucher

The New London Board of Public Works met on Monday, Jan. 4 and held a discussion with city officials regarding the recent snowstorm that dumped 14.6 inches of snow on the city, Dec. 28-29.

Several council members received numerous calls from the public. Some were upset with the way the snow was removed and others were upset that their cars were either ticketed or towed. Almost all city officials received calls from residents voicing their frustrations with the storm.

“This was an honest to God blizzard, with wind gust of over 40 miles per hour,” said Jeff Bodoh, director of public works. “It’s just hard to keep up with a storm like that.”

New London Street Superintendent Don Goodreau said the phone was ringing off the hook the night of the storm. One plow driver stayed at the city garage napping for an hour before getting back in the truck and plowing again.

“This was a freak storm,” said Goodreau. “We had some pretty big breakdowns and had two new drivers out there,” he added. “Considering the amount of snow we had in the amount of time it fell, I thought they did a pretty good job.

“We’re always looking at ways to improve and what could have went better,” said Goodreau.

The morning after the storm, the large snow blower suffered a mechanical breakdown. Numerous cars were parked on streets and stuck in the roads, despite the snow emergency declaration prior to the storm’s arrival.

“It’s difficult when you have a snow emergency, and some people just don’t take it seriously,” he said.

“I just don’t know what else you can do in a snow emergency.”

Alderperson Lori Dean said, “One thing we can do is actually start ticketing people for parking on the streets after Nov. 1.”

“Maybe they’ll get the message then,” said Dean.

Alderperson Mike Barrington said he felt the city could have gotten the word out better regarding the snow emergency.

Bodoh said he sent notices to the television stations prior to the storm’s arrival declaring a snow emergency for New London. The city also posted notices on their Facebook and internet pages, but it did not seem to help in many cases where cars were left on streets, stalled in intersections, and in the way of emergency and snow removal vehicles.

Bodoh said he talked with the Chamber of Commerce about using its message board to help get the word out on future snow emergencies. The committee also discussed sending out a letter reminding residents about the laws regarding snow emergencies and snow removal.

Goodreau also said they noticed many residents blowing or plowing their snow into the streets.

Dean said another observation she had was that nearly a week after the storm had passed, she is still noticing many crosswalks and fire hydrants are not shoveled.

Barrington said despite the many challenges the storm brought on, and severity of it, “In general a lot of our streets were well taken care of by the end of the day.”

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