Keep Our Streets Clear - And Response (5)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A year or so ago, a spokesperson for the Tennessee Department Of Transportation announced that the horrible road conditions experienced during a snowstorm then were the result of the public not cooperating with TDOT's new plan to save resources.  It seems that someone at TDOT decided they could save resources if no salt/sand/brine was put on roads before freezing precipitation, but should only be applied after the precipitation has stopped and the traffic has cleared enough for the TDOT trucks to get through without being hindered. 

If that sounds logical to you, then you must not drive an automobile.  Sorry TDOT, but I am not satisfied with that plan.  I lived and worked in Europe for over 17 years.  The plan is Europe was the same as the plan used to be here... salt/sand/brine before freezing precipitation and during precipitation, and plow as much as possible, as fast as possible.  Keep the roads clear for the safety of all, including first responders.  You see, TDOT, drivers are not going to sit and wait for you to exercise this plan because, for example, parents have to go get kids from schools and businesses close so people have to get home.   

I was all over Chattanooga on Tuesday.  I observed a paucity of effort in our city to keep streets clear.  I was on the Chattanooga streets for over five hours and did not see one road clearing vehicle of any kind; downtown, North Chatt, Main Street, Corridor J, Highway 153, I-24, nor in my own neighborhood.  I think it is time for the public to speak up on the unacceptable plan to work toward clear streets.  We don't need a new fleet of trucks.  We just need attachable spreaders like we used to use here.  Then we need them used.  And we need to hold someone accountable.

Add to that some idea a lot of teachers seemed to have that students were not to be released until roads had been cleared.  Where are the lame brain ideas stemming from?  It's called an Inclement Weather Plan... get one, Mr. Smith, and make sure everyone knows their responsibilities.

And I don't see anyone discussing this.  Someone gets paid to make the decisions on these things.  They are drawing a paycheck and and they are incompetent.    

Leo Brown
Chattanooga 

 * * * 

Mr. Brown,
I think you're right to be upset. We finally got snow plows in North Chattanooga around 6 p.m. But, in some ways, it was nice to see people helping other people before the snow plows came. 

It's easy to complain. It's better to have a plan. Here's mine. 

I think the city should designate various citizens at certain critical infrastructure points to have bags of rock salt in storage. When a storm hits, that person can go ahead and pour the rock salt before the ice takes over the road. Since the person is already at the location, it would be less dangerous than having someone drive to the spot. 

I would volunteer for my road. With cellphones, it would be easy to send out a bulk phone message much like the school system does to activate other volunteers. And, like you said, it's better to get rock salt down early before the snow freezes to ice. 

I think it's a good idea. But it's up to whoever the city has designated to be responsible for this issue. I just wanted to throw the idea out there. In the meantime I'm going to refill my rock salt supply because it really did seem to help some people out yesterday. 

Charles Bikas 

* * *

When referring to "teachers" and "lame ideas," remember it is not the teachers in the schools but the central office administration who makes the decisions about school closures.  Our teachers in the schools catch enough grief as it is. 

Vicki Hill
Hixson

* * *

While I understand that not every side road and subdivision can be quickly cleared and salted, the absolute incompetence demonstrated by our public works department yesterday is inexcusable. I don't expect my little street to be salted first, or even quickly, but the very idea that a city of this size cannot manage to keep Amnicola Highway and East Brainerd Road passable in front of a slow moving storm is grounds to seek a competent person to head this department. This kind of sloppy work risked the lives of my wife and children, along with countless others, yesterday and someone needs to be held to account before this casual attitude toward public safety gets a lot of Chattanoogans killed.
 

F.L. Benton

* * *

Email I received from a relative in another state that was hit hard by the sudden snow storm: 

"Seven of my friends were stuck from like 2 p.m. yesterday until late last night and one of my girlfriends was in it all from 2:30 p.m. yesterday and did not make it home until 10 a.m. this morning (Wednesday). YIKES!!! I posted a photo of us below. We've known each other for about five years now, so I was up and worried about her all through the night. We and some other friends just talked to her and Facebooked and text her throughout the night to make sure she was safe. It's a good thing she had a blanket in her car and her cell phone charger and plenty of gas. Most of that time she was stuck on the interstate and once she finally got off, it was around 5 a.m. this morning (Wednesday). She pulled into a Publix parking lot to rest and then went to a Waffle House to eat and after getting gas, she left her car running off and on for a total of about 3, 3 1/2 hours to sleep. When she got up it was still a mess and took her about two more hours to get home. Crazy.

Two friends abandoned their cars and walked, but that was earlier yesterday around 5. They were closer to home than my first friend.  

J______(name withheld) stayed at work. One friend stayed at a hotel, it was free. One stayed all night and some of this morning (Wednesday) at a Post Office. And then two friends had husbands for whom it took seven hours for one and an entire 24 hours for another to get home. 

So far only one death. Sad, but it definitely could have been worse. And I think and hope most of the homeless people had shelter." 

Count your blessings. 

Brenda Manghane-Washington


* * * 

What a bunch of whiners. I hate to rub "salt or brine" in the wound but I find cell phone talkers and texters more dangerous than a little snow and ice. 

Weather happens, deal with it. I know there's not an app for surprise snow therefore use your brains. 

Oh, the stories of horror. People having to park their cars and walk. 

Anything short of having TDOT or a public works employee come to your location and hold your hands, just wouldn't do. 

I'm waiting to hear about a class action lawsuit coming out of this over the liability of state and city causing needless tread loss to everyone's tires from having to spin their tires on the slippery roads. 

Warning.  Summer is coming.  It'll be hot and there will be tornadoes and flash flooding. FYI - The road crews can't make this not happen. Hopefully by then, will have an app for those. 

Meantime, put your pacifiers back in your mouths and stop whining. 

Michael Burns 

* * * 

I was fortunate enough to make it home mid afternoon on Tuesday and I parked the car. My wife and I suited it up for the cold and went to check on vehicles I had seen in ditches on the way home- all were okay or already gone. We then walked over the poop-show that was East Brainerd Road in front of Concord Baptist Church and Hullco. I never really paid attention to the slight incline there, but it was virtually impassable in those conditions.  

What we saw was an 18 wheeler blocking the right lane and four cops (two CPD and two THP) pushing cars up the left lane one at a time. If the car couldn't get up, they directed them off to the side and parked them. Looking back towards Bargain Hunt and BMW, there were cars as far as you could see. It was the same with the exit ramp.  

After watching, and helping push a few cars myself, for about three hours, the salt trucks showed up and both lanes were open within 10 minutes. I'm sure there were a couple hundred more miles that were being salted while those LEOs wore out their backs, but it was definitely a little ridiculous. It was a pretty big miss for public works and even Paul Barys, as he clearly admitted.  

I think we now have a fresh recollection of where our weak points are and we need to make sure we learn from this past mistake.  


I want to give a big shout out to those fine officers who went above and beyond to help those people get home, one car at a time. They really busted tail and refused any coffee or anything from people passing by. 

Nick vonWerssowetz



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