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Carnegie area public works crews handle first snowstorm

| Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, 8:45 p.m.
Times Express
Jorumn Allersma, left, and Ties Allersma of Highland Park in Pittsburgh trim a Christmas tree in the Norwegian room at the Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh. Randy Jarosz | For The Times Express
(c) 2012 Lillian DeDomenic
Special guests at the Plum High School Make-A-Wish telethon this year were Hamilton Grant and his family. Hamilton, 6, talked about his recent wish trip to Disney World. His father, Frank Grant, mom Meiko Grant and his sister Madison Nevers, 12, shared Hamilton's excitement. Lillian DeDomenic | For The Plum Advance Leader

Most public works supervisors will tell you that the first snowstorm of the season took them by surprise.

Even if the forecast was there for days.

“I would say that I was a little overwhelmed when it first came down,” said Keith Hatcher, supervisor of Carnegie's road department. “It was just the way it came down. It hit so quick. It was so intense.”

Green Tree Manager Dave Montz said the municipality's 12 full-time public works employees did a good job of clearing the streets. However, he agreed that the Dec. 26 snow, which totaled about 5 inches, “came down so fast” that crews at first had a hard time keeping up.

“It was the intensity of it at first that made it difficult. Another thing about it was that the few people who were at work on the day after Christmas decided to leave early because of the snow. This made it hard for us to clean the roads. Not only harder for us, but I think it was harder for just about every (municipality),” Montz said.

Collier Borough Council President Bob Schuler said that “one of the bright spots” of the township is its public works department. The township has 10 full-time public works employees and nine trucks in the department, Schuler said.

“At 9 a.m. on the 26th, they had their trucks out. They were everywhere. They were trying to do everything they could to clean the main roads,” Schuler said.

Ron Brame, Collier's public works director, said the nine trucks in the department averaged 250 miles each during the storm.

Looking forward, most municipalities are prepared for the upcoming winter.

Green Tree has 1,400 tons of salt right now. It purchases the salt from the South Hills Council Area of Governments (SHACOG) at a cost of just a little more than $57 per ton.

Collier has 5,000 tons of salt in reserve right now; about 3,500 of that is from last year, which produced an unusually mild winter. Carnegie has 700 tons in its bin on Glass Street, but it could order more if needed.

From 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Dec. 26, 4.9 inches of snow was recorded officially in Pittsburgh, said Meteorologist John Darnley of the National Weather Service in Pittsburgh. The amount was higher or lower in some other areas; for instance, South Fayette received 6 inches of snow, Darnley said.

Pittsburgh might have a colder winter this year than last, Darnley said.

“We will have a slightly colder winter with a little more snow. We are not seeing anything outrageous, but you never know,” he said.

Jeff Widmer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5810 or jwidmer@tribweb.com.

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