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Many still digging out a day after snow storm sweeps through Northeast Ohio

While some people are still digging out, others find their streets have been cleared

CLEVELAND — After over a foot of snow fell in parts of Northeast Ohio Sunday into Monday, many are still digging out. While some have found their streets are clear, others are still waiting for the plows.

According to Isaac Hunt, public information officer for ODOT District 12, which covers Cuyahoga, Lake, and Geauga counties, about 65 trucks were on the roads Monday clearing snow. But the rate at which the snow was falling posed some challenges for crews.

“Yesterday, there was so much snow and a lot of it falling so quickly that we could make a pass and five, ten minutes later, it might not look like a plow had even been on the road,” Hunt said. “Those are difficult times for both us and drivers. For a driver, it’s frustrating because it looks like maybe a plow hasn’t even been out. ‘Where are the plows? I don’t see any plows when I’m driving to my work, so the plows must not be out.’ But a lot of times, the case is when it’s snowing that much, a plow was probably just through there, and the snow continues to fall behind them.”

Hunt said they even had tandem crews out cleaning multiple lanes of the roadway at once, and still, just minutes after, the roads could look snow-covered once again due to blowing and falling snow.

Now, the work continues, as crews keep clearing areas of roadway.

“Today we’re working on cleaning those shoulders up and pushing as much snow off each pass as we can,” Hunt told 3News' Isabel Lawrence. “But those areas can be tricky, and those are areas that are always tricky during the winter because they tend to freeze more quickly than other areas of the roads do.”

Looking ahead, crews will continue monitoring the roads.

“We’ll have plows out, we’ll have plenty of salt on the roads to try to keep conditions as good as possible,” he said.

In Akron, plowing of the third priority roads began Tuesday morning.

Jim Hall, public works bureau manager for the City of Akron said they started pre-treating city streets with brine on Friday. He said around noon on Sunday is when they switched to rock salt ahead of the storm moving in around 3:30.

Hall said while the snow was still light, their 55 trucks were able to work between both first and second priority routes. First priority routes include metrobus routes, expressways, and roads around hospitals and hills, among others. Second priority routes include dead-end streets that slope downward, and streets where there’s one way in or out to a large community. Third priority routes are everything else.

“We have about 122 million square feet of pavement that we need to cover. With the 12 to 16 inches of snow we got, that would basically fill Cleveland Municipal Stadium over 2,000 feet high,” he said. “So we’ve got a lot of snow to get off the streets.”

Hall said Tuesday morning they began working those third priority streets, and hope to have those plowed by the end of the day.

Hall also reminded people that there is a parking ban in place to enable plows to adequately clear snow.

According to a snowplow update from the City of Cleveland, in snowstorms with between six to 12 inches of snow, it takes crews 24 to 48 hours to plow the whole city.

The update read in part, “There are 292 subsections total encompassing nearly 10,000 streets citywide. As of 8:30 AM this morning, 158 subsections have been completed, or 54% of streets citywide. This morning, city crews plowed main streets again before reverting attention back to the side streets. The expectation from Public Works is that all subsections citywide will be completed by the end of second shift today. Once completed, the crews will start over again on the side streets for another pass.”

Just after 4 p.m., the City of Cleveland sent out an updated version of the release which stated that "209 out of 292 residential subsections have been plowed, representing 71% of 10,000 streets citywide."

Hunt with ODOT reminded people to continue to be cautious on the roads, especially on ramps and bridges, spots that can be trickier to clear, and which freeze more quickly than other areas of road.

Eric Polak works in Ohio City. He said he helped around nine or 10 drivers dig their cars out of the snow on Monday. 

"Cars stuck everywhere," Polak said. "I just tell people, stay at home if you don't have to go out."

Polak said he personally had not seen plows in the area and said having a plow come through would help those trying to get in and out.  

Elsewhere in Ohio City, Dave Kachadourian said his street has been plowed.

"The street's clear, the sun is out, things are good," he said. 

Kachadourian said five others on his street spent time Monday shoveling, and he was back out again Tuesday clearing things. 

 "I think they had too much to do, I think they just had so much to do they couldn't get to the side streets until later," he said of the plows. 

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