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Crews Struggle to Clear Norwalk Streets

When the Norwalk Department of Public Works employees set out Monday to make the streets better, they faced a problem: where to put the snow.

As of Friday afternoon, Hal Alvord, public works director, didn't know where it would go. "The DEP doesn't allow you to dump that stuff into the river or the harbor or anything like that," he said, referring to the state Department of Environmental Protection.

The volume of snow is just one of the challenges the public works employees face as they struggle to cope with the record-breaking snowfall. Alvord and his crews are also dealing with equipment issues.

Monday's goal was to improve visibility for drivers at major problem intersections, where the height of the snow piles has made it difficult to see oncoming traffic. "We're not going to be moving all of it because we just don't have the equipment or the people to move every pile of snow," Alvord said. "So we're going to do the intersections where we know there have been accidents or serious issues."

The department has only three front-end loaders, he said, and the snow needs to go to an acceptable location.

Alvord find that requirement frustrating. "You're going to go put it on land someplace. And when it warms up, it's going to melt, so it will flow into the watercourses and it's going to end up in the harbor anyway," he said.

Other usual procedures are becoming difficult. "Pushbacks are going to be really tough now because there's so much snow along the side of the road that you can't take big bites of it or else it will start damaging the plows and the plow harnesses and trucks," he said. "So any pushbacks that we do are going to be small cuts with the plow just because of the volume and the weight of the snow. I don't want to go breaking our trucks. We don't have that many to begin with."

How are you coping with the mounds of snow? Leave a comment below.

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