Private contractors, equipment from the state and even the National Guard came to Hamden Monday night to help the worst hit municipality in the state dig out from the 40' of snow dumped by the Blizzard of 2013.
And by Tuesday night, 90 percent of the town's roads will be passable, Chief Administrative Officer Curt Balzano Leng said, and that number will rise to 99 percent by Wednesday afternoon, he said.
"The Town has 32 pay loader crews working throughout Hamden tonight and into tomorrow," Leng said Monday night. "While I understand people are frustrated, Hamden is getting 90 percent of streets passable by [Tuesday] night because our crews are working around the clock and the Mayor has authorized about 17 outside contracted payloaders to assist in this effort. This is a major expense - but safety is the priority."
But a good portion of that expense -- estimated to be as much as a half a million dollars -- will be covered by the federal government, he said.
"We were also pleased to learn from the Governor today that we will have an opportunity to recoup some of our funds through FEMA reimbursement," he said.
He acknowledged that for residents still stuck at home, it's easy to blame the town.
"While some think the town was unprepared for this storm, it just isn't true," he said. "The town was fully prepared for the maximum amount of snow predicted and had staff, equipment and supplies ready to address a 24-inch storm - but what happened was the storm of the century and with Hamden being hit with the highest levels of snow in the Tri-State area.
"There just isn't any municipality that has the equipment on-hand to handle once in a lifetime storm events like this in Connecticut," he said. "Every town and city is working through the same scenario - I'm just pleased we've been able to get the resources to double our traditional number of crews and get the town cleaned up and safe as quickly as possible."
"We understand that the streets that have been made passable will require additional clearing," Mayor Scott Jackson said in his daily update, but confirmed that 90 percent will be passable by midnight Tuesday and 99 percent completed by Wednesday afternoon.
"This is the first step in making all roads passable. The overall clean-up will involve moving the large mass of snow off the streets and into town parks and other safe locations," he said. "This process is slow but is the only way to clear roads with an eye toward protecting from further storms and future flooding from melting snow."
Bringing in the National Guard will help the process, Jackson said.
"The National Guard is now on the scene assisting our EMS crews and Public Works crews who have remained on duty since Friday morning," he said. "Please understand that our first priority continues to be assisting Police, Fire and medical emergencies. Such emergencies could slow the process, but we won’t stop until we are done and I’m sure you agree that safety must come first."
But even as the work progresses, it's still important for residents to stay off the roads as much as possible, Jackson said.
"As more roads become passable, it’s still advisable to stay home as much as possible," he said.. When you do go out, please pay extra care when turning onto busy streets as sight lines are severely impacted. On major arteries keep an eye out for cars that may be turning blindly.
"The National Guard is assisting Fire Rescue operations and has begun helping residents with prescription runs and other pressing medical needs. Please call 203-230-4000 for assistance."
He also had words of advice for residents dealing with the snow:
- Be safe shoveling
- be aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning
- if you have elderly neighbors I encourage you to check in on them.
"We now know that this was our largest snow fall in over a century," he said. "We have been very fortunate to have made it through as a community with no major power outages, no loss of life and no significant property damage. Let’s be smart, let’s be patient and let’s be safe."