State plows helped the City of Buffalo dig out from under heavy snowfall, something that hasn’t been done in recent memory.
After state crews were done clearing major thoroughfares, such as Routes 33 and 198, they stayed around to clean up 12 city arterials that are usually cleared by city plows, such as Niagara Square and parts of Main, Seneca, Clinton and Genesee streets, and Elmwood and Delaware avenues.
All other municipalities declined the state’s offer of additional help, but Buffalo accepted, said Pamm Lent, state director of communications for Western New York.
“They’re clearing some of the mains so we can get to the residentials,” said Public Works Commissioner Steven J. Stepniak.
He said he couldn’t remember the last time state plows cleared city streets. The city had other contractors ready to go if needed, but they weren’t called in, and a site where snow was going to be dumped also was not needed.
The state, which had 109 additional state Department of Transportation personnel and 87 pieces of equipment in Western New York to clear the snow on state roads, kept 25 pieces of snow-fighting equipment in the city on Wednesday.
The city’s own workforce was busy working 12-hour shifts and operating more than 40 pieces of equipment, clearing snow in temperatures that make salt much less effective.
“The challenge with that is repeat applications, multiple trips down those roadways,” Stepniak said.
South Buffalo was hit hard on Tuesday with a foot of snow in some places, and the rest of the city got hit on Wednesday with about six inches.
As the city gets residential streets plowed, which it expected to finish in time for the commute this morning, they are looking ahead to the weekend, when temperatures in the 50s are forecast. A meeting on how to mitigate flooding was held Wednesday, and the ice on the Buffalo River is already being broken up so that it doesn’t melt and cause flooding when temperatures rise, Stepniak said.