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Lauretti: No School Tuesday, Wednesday Doubtful
by Ethan Fry | Feb 11, 2013 2:19 pm
Posted to: Shelton
Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti said Monday the city is doing everything it can to clear roads of snow, but that schools would be closed Tuesday and probably Wednesday as well.
The mayor said about noon that he hoped city crews and outside contractors would be able to “put a pretty big dent in getting all the streets open” — that is, wide enough for emergency responders to get to them — by the end of Monday.
“There’s no way that we’ll have school tomorrow,” Lauretti said. “And probably not on Wednesday.”
Earlier Monday, the Valley Indy ran into the mayor at the city’s Department of Highways and Bridges Complex on Myrtle Street.
Lauretti said the city is bringing in more private contractors to help city crews overwhelmed by the amount of snow that fell during Friday’s blizzard. Click here for a map of roads in the lower Valley that are still covered in snow.
“It boils down to just being able to get to the roads. A lot of the roads have snow drifts of five, six feet,” Lauretti said. “Our plows can’t plow the snow. That’s what’s hampering our efforts, and I’ve got to believe everybody else in the state of Connecticut.”
“It’s going to take a little while longer,” Lauretti said. “People need to be patient, and they need to stay off the roads.”
The mayor said rumors about broken-down trucks and overtime restrictions are not true.
“Plow trucks haven’t broken down hardly at all,” he said. “They’ve gotten stuck . . . because the snow is so deep and they can’t push it. That’s the problem.”
Monday’s rain would make the problem worse, he said, “because the snow gets heavier.”
Regarding overtime, Lauretti said: “There’s no limitations. People have worked themselves to the end and now they’ve got to get some rest.”
“We’re trying to take every precaution possible,” he went on. “We’re letting people make decisions for themselves of how much they can do.”
Regarding blizzard cleanup, Lauretti said about noon Friday that the time it will take “will depend on how much of a challenge this rain presents.”
“Our goal is to open up every street so emergency vehicles can get down them and people can get out of their homes,” he said. “Then we’ll start to widen the streets. But even the traditional way of doing that is not going to work.”
There’s so much snow crews are trying to scoop it up with heavy lifters and cart it away, he said, but “we’re not going to be able to cart it all away.”
Around noon crews were in the process of opening up the Booth Hill and Pine Rock areas, he said.
“I think by the end of today we’ll put a pretty big dent in getting all the streets open,” he said. “And then as soon as we do that we’re going to start to widen the streets.”
Police Chief Joel Hurliman said about 12:30 p.m. that the city had hired private contractors to put 14 payloaders, six backhoes, and a large bulldozer to work clearing streets, in addition to the city’s own equipment.
The hope was to get as much as possible done while temperatures were relatively warm Monday during the day, before they dropped overnight and the rain that fell froze on top of the snow, he said.
“They’ve got a full-court press on to make as huge a dent as possible in it,” Hurliman said. “Today they may even get to a lot of the dead-ends that haven’t been done.”
Garbage pickup in the city has also been postponed “until further notice” because of the blizzard.
Shelton firefighters and EMS have been working tirelessly responding to calls since Friday. Routine calls are hampered because of roads that haven’t been plowed. The emergency crews have been coordinating with public works in those instances.
If a road can’t be opened, emergency responders have been trudging through 30-plus inches of snow to get to patients.
Unlucky Vacation Timing
Lauretti and Public Works Director Paul DiMauro were on vacation out of state when the storm hit. The pair is taking hits by some frustrated residents.
Lauretti sad he left Tuesday and got back to town Sunday.
He said if someone has a crystal ball, they should let him know of historic weather events in advance.
Click the play button below to see Lauretti’s comments. Article continues after the video.
“At the end of the day, I don’t plow snow,” he went on. “That’s not my role. I spent a good part of my time in Florida on the telephone lining up private contractors to come and help our people, and also in telephone conversations with our emergency services people.”
Lauretti said the public works director doesn’t man a plow during storms.
He chalked the complaints up to local politics.
“That is just so stupid. It’s just a political thing. People have no idea,” he said. “You can check my phone records and see how long I was on the phone and how many people I called while I was in Florida, what time of day and night it was,” Lauretti went on. “I think I got as much done down there as I could have if I were here.”
He said he would be happy to respond to any criticism at Thursday’s regular meeting of the Board of Aldermen.
Liberty and Wall street in shelton needs to be plowed…no one has touched it, I’ve complained about it. We have children and the elderly on the streets…in case of an emergency, the crews need to get here somehow!!
Mr. Mayor, I read your letter and I disagree… there have been no city trucks in the Pine Rock area where I live this afternoon. I beg to differ with your article, if a ford pickup with a plow can get through the snow in these streets to plow them, why cant or city plows? I was told by your public works department that we are on a hill so we will be the last to be plowed there are elderly people on this street. Your plows came half way down one of them and left which was two days ago, granted there are getting over and triple time and we are loosing money from work because there are no paths on any streets. When you have alderman’s in several city’s going door to door to make sure people are okay… good job Shelton