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Mayor Greg Fischer Newsroom


Louisville Metro Crews Clear Roadways, Respond to Winter Storm's Aftermath

Monday December 27, 2004

Louisville Metro road crews have made substantial progress in their around-the-clock efforts to clear snow and ice from the 2,300 miles of roads and streets in the community.

The next challenge may be localized flooding on streets and low-lying areas as the snow and ice melt with steadily rising temperatures and projected rain on Friday.

Following an assessment meeting with key department directors this morning, Mayor Jerry Abramson applauded road crews, emergency responders and other metro employees who worked through the holiday and weekend to deal with last week’s back-to-back snow and ice storms.

“The lessons we learned from the 1994 storm helped our team respond much better to this extraordinary snowfall,” Abramson said. “But there’s always room for improvement and we will be studying how we can respond even better the next time.”

Abramson also praised citizens for helping each other by clearing driveways, rescuing stranded vehicles and checking on elderly neighbors. “Louisville is a city where neighbors help neighbors, and that’s been particularly true in response to this storm,” he said.

Here are highlights from today’s meeting: Drainage and flooding concerns
The Metropolitan Sewer District will be monitoring key areas of the drainage system during the week, working to clear sewer grates and catch basins, said Bud Schardein, MSD’s executive director. Citizens and businesses can help by clearing storm sewer grates and catch basins in their neighborhoods or call MetroCall at 311 to report standing water.

Roads

Louisville Metro crews and contractors have been working around the clock since the storm hit. About 170 vehicles have been plowing and salting priority and secondary routes in recent days and have now turned their focus to neighborhood streets, said Public Works Director Jim Adkins. Louisville has more than 9,000 roads and streets.
Crews have dropped 13,000 tons of salt, valued at about $435,000, over the past week, Adkins said. With long shifts and holidays, the bill for overtime pay exceeds $1 million.

Garbage and recycling pickup

Garbage crews in the urban service district are working to catch up from last Thursday’s cancellation and Friday’s holiday, said Solid Waste Director Bob Schindler. Crews are collecting garbage on regular scheduled routes as well as the Thursday and Friday routes during one of the largest garbage collection periods of the year.

Citizens should put out their garbage and recycling as scheduled. The backlog should be cleared up by Thursday or Friday, Schindler said.
 
In suburban areas, most private haulers are waiting until the designated collection day to make up for collections missed last week.

Fires, collapsing roofs

Firefighters have responded to several serious fires and roof collapses in recent days, Louisville Fire Chief Greg Frederick said. Portions of roofs on at least a dozen businesses and homes have collapsed under the weight of the ice and snow.

Frederick urged people to use extreme care and observe the following:
· Use extreme caution in using any auxiliary heating devices such as kerosene heaters

· Do not use stove burners or ovens to heat your home

· Remove live Christmas trees promptly to avoid fire danger

· Do not attempt to thaw frozen pipes with blowtorches or similar devices

· Do not attempt to use fireplaces for the first time this season if they haven’t been cleaned or inspected

Homeless shelters

Operation White Flag has been in effect at community shelters since the storm hit. Extra staff and volunteers have worked hard and met the need, according to Human Services Director Joanne Weis.

Parks, community centers and libraries

Metro Parks, community centers and libraries are open. Community centers scheduled for extended hours during the holidays will be open this evening.