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Akron Doubles Snow Plows After Failure To Clear Residential Streets

Akron officials are vowing to do better with the next “snowmageddon.”

They knew the city was going to get a lot of snow last weekend but their trucks focused more on keeping expressways clear. After 15 inches fell, residential streets were left largely untouched.

On Tuesday Akron Public Schools had to cancel classes because residential streets hadn’t been plowed. Nineteen school buses became stuck Wednesday and eight more on Thursday.

City spokeswoman Ellen Lander-Nischt acknowledged the city’s contract with the Ohio Department of Transportation to clean I-77 and I-76 took its toll.

“The obligation we have to those expressways and the level of snowfall made it so that we just could not get to those residential neighborhoods because, again, we’re having to prioritize based on safety and the expressways are the most dangerous,” said Lander-Nischt.

But residents howled and the city’s 311 comment line crashed. Akron has now doubled its number of snow plow trucks by hiring private contractors and may make other changes.

“The mayor is absolutely looking at whether or not we continue to maintain the expressways or whether our crews are only going to work on city streets,” Lander-Nischt said.

And, she added, city council members and officials do not get special treatment.

“We live in these streets too and we are the same level of priority as anyone else.”

Akron employs some 200 part- and full-time truck drivers for snow removal.


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