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Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb outlines updates to city's snow removal plan

The city is looking to increase its fleet of trucks, while also using a computer program to allow residents to track the progress of plows.

CLEVELAND — After his administration received criticism over its response to the city's first major winter storm of the season, Mayor Justin Bibb held a briefing Thursday to announce updates to Cleveland's snow removal plan. 

Bibb admitted that the city's existing snow removal policy did not account for the intensity of last week's snowfall. The city reported that 15” of snow came down during the storm, calling it "the largest snowfall in a single day in some time."

"Our crews worked and fulfilled the existing snow removal policy plan as written. But that plan is not good enough to meet the demands and needs of all of our residents across the city," Bibb stated.

After a week of evaluating the response, Bibb and his administration have announced a series of recommended updates to Cleveland's snow removal program moving forward.

The plan calls for the city to increase its fleet of trucks by 20 to allow plow service to happen on residential streets at the same time as main streets are being done. Bibb also seeks to retrofit up to 10 of Cleveland's existing trucks with plow assembly, while acquiring five additional trucks with plow assembly.

Credit: City of Cleveland

Bibb and Cleveland Chief Operating Officer Bonnie Teeuwen also laid out a pilot program for a new snow plow tracker system at clevelandohio.gov. Residents will be able to see which streets the plow trucks have serviced, what trucks are in their area during a snowstorm, and the progress of the plowing of each street. The tracker will be activated at the beginning of a snow event and will update every 60 minutes. Click here for more. 

Currently, the city's plow routes are manually drawn out. Main and secondary streets are to be cleared first, with residential streets addressed only after the mains are passable.

Funding for these proposals will need to be approved by Cleveland City Council. Bibb said his administration plans to move as quickly as it can with the support of council.

In a video posted on the city's social media pages one week ago, Bibb pledged to overhaul the city's current snow removal plan. He stated that the city used "every truck, snow plow, and driver available, but it still wasn't enough."

Cleveland city officials reported that 48 trucks, 12 road raiders and 13 small plows were deployed to clear the roadways as the storm subsided by 10 a.m. on Monday, January 17. The city of Cleveland has 292 residential subsections which encompass nearly 10,000 streets. 

In evaluating the city's performance from last week, Bibb said that the existing plan calls for snow to be removed from the city's main, secondary, and residential streets within 72 hours when there are six inches of snow or more. Bibb said that last week, his crews did it within 60 hours. "We realized our residents deserve better and deserve more. Our policy only accounted for the amount of snow, not the intensity."

You can watch Mayor Bibb's briefing in the player below:

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