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Is Providence’s Plowing Understaffed?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

 

The City of Providence had 96 plows out on Tuesday to start clearlng 370 miles of roads following winter storm Juno -- while neighboring cities with less pavement had more plows deployed for less surface area. 

The City of Cranston had 140 plows out for 320 miles of roads.  To the north, Worcester, Massachusetts had nearly 400 pieces of equipment out for less than twice the area of Providence, according to John Hill, spokesperson for the City of Worcester. 

"We have just just over 500 miles of roads to be plowed," said Hill on Tuesday, who said early in the day that the city had "nearly 400 pieces of equipment clearing the streets."

"Obviously, we could always use more.  It almost always comes up in budget discussions," said Providence City Councilman Kevin Jackson, who was first elected to the council in 1995.  "It's usually a question of asking whoever's the DPW director if they feel they have adequate equipment. We rely heavily on private contractors, as opposed to the increasing the fleet.  There are less trucks now than there were 20 years ago."

The City of Worcester notes the four hundred plus fleet is a combination of city and private contractors; the City of Providence didn't respond to request for breakdown. 

Operation Costs

In 2011, GoLocal's Stephen Beale reported that following a major snowstorm in January, Providence paid five times the amount it cost the City of Warwick to plow the roads, with 130 trucks working the storm -- and less than half of the fleet city-owned.  

"I'm not sure what a city such as Worcester's situation may be, but we have DPW trucks, and parks department, we also have water supply trucks, and we almost always bring in private contractors," said Providence City Council President Luis Aponte, noting for the latter the city has a list of vendors.  

"So the question do we have enough city capacity?  Probably not," said Aponte. "We supplement with private vendors that we utilize."

Aponte noted that each storm presented its own "unique challenges."

"Each one has its challenges," said Aponte.  "Because of the colder temps, this was a softer, lighter snow.  And with this wind, we're pushing snow up against that wind.  There's an expectation  things will be passable on Wednesday, but we'll see. There are benefits to this type of snow -- because it's not wet and heavy, we're not dealing as much with power outages."

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo lifted the travel ban effective Tuesday night at 8 P.M; Providence schools remain closed on Wednesday/

 

Related Slideshow: Blizzard Juno Hits Providence

Blizzard Juno is in full swing across all of Rhode Island and New England. Here is a look at how Juno has impacted Providence.

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No Bread Today

Seven Stars Bakery on Hope St is snowed in. No bread today! 

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CVS is Closed

The CVS on Hope St was closed on Tuesday.

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Cumberland Farms

The Cumberland Farms on Hope St was open for business, but there was no one stopping for gas late Tuesday morning.

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Miriam Hospital

Miriam Hospital was dug out early on Tuesday morning.

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Miriam Hospital

Miriam Hospital was dug out early on Tuesday morning.

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6th St, Providence

A family of sledders ventured out late Tuesday morning.

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Rochambeau St

No cars on Rochambeau St Tuesday morning.

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Hope and Rochambeau

The usually busy intersection of Hope and Rochambeau Streets was quiet on Tuesday morning.

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Hope St

No traffic on Hope Street thanks to Juno on Tuesday morning.

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North Main and Smithfield

The jammed traffic that usually clogs the intersection was nowhere to be seen on Tuesday morning.

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North Main St

North Main St was quiet on Tuesday Morning.

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North Main St

Another view of North Main St in Providence on Tuesday morning during Blizzard Juno.

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Walgreens

The Walgreens on North Main was open on Tuesday morning. There had only been 4 customers as of around 11am. 

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5th Street

A view of 5th St in Providence on Tuesday morning during Blizzard Juno

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4th Street

A view of 4th St in Providence on Tuesday morning during Blizzard Juno

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North Main Street

No action so far today at the Parlour on North Main St. 

 
 

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