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City Revises Snow Removal Program

Lane Avenue Bridge Covered In Snow
WOSU File Photo
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Two years ago, Lane Avenue, near Ohio State University, remained snow-covered 12 hours after a winter storm.

The city of Columbus announced today it is changing how Snow Warriors get the job done. 

Few things likely prompt more complaints to the city’s 311 call center than unplowed streets.

“It doesn’t look like the city’s done anything,” one woman complained.

“And people are getting stuck trying to turn out onto 23,” a woman reported.

“We got a mess out here right now, and I can’t even get out,” another caller reported.

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said changes to the snow removal program should reduce those kinds of frustrations. He said the city crossed-trained employees, and it now has nearly 400 workers who can operate plows and snow removal equipment.

“We’re making major investments. We’ve been buying plows at record rates in the city of Columbus. So we believe we’re on par.”

Columbus has 87 plows, up from 60, in 2010.

The city also revised which streets take priority. Ginther said some areas, like the closed J.C. Penney Outlet, no longer will be on that list.

“Spending … four hours plowing that area when other commercial corridors that have much larger amounts of activity weren’t being treated or were being delayed because of that," Ginther said. 

The city also is doing away with the hard and fast "four inches," where the city would not plow residential streets unless at least four inches of snow had fallen. James Young, with the city’s Infrastructure Management Division, said that’s flexible now.

“We’re always looking at the weather; we’re looking at how much the sun’s melting, how much the temperatures are melting. So, yeah, if we have two inches we might not go into residentials," Young said. 
"We’re always evaluating it. Before it was a hard call, now we’re trying to make a determination what’s best for the citizens.” 

The city also bought GPS devices to help plow crews maneuver routes more efficiently.