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National Guard, Private Contractors Rescue Hamden

Town Officials now predict 90 percent of roads will be done by Tuesday night and 99 percent finished by Wednesday afternoon.

 

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."

Kathleen Ramunni February 15, 2013 at 03:48 AM
While I understand everyone's frustration with this situation, profanity will not be allowed. Please, let's keep it clean. Thanks.
Paul p February 15, 2013 at 04:49 AM
After a week the first town equipment showed up in West Woods. A big Loader took bucket after bucket from the street and piled it up on my property. Told the driver (a contractor not a town employee) that I didn't want him to damage my property. He kept on piling and then tried to run me over. When a town truck showed up got attitude and further attempt to intimidate. Called public works and was told they would send a supervisor. Waited 30 minutes and called again. Got head of public works and got more attitude but a little more polish. Told me to call the police. I told him i guess the town of Hamden has no problem with hired contractors intimidating and endangering tax payers under their authority. Was told if they didn't the streets wouldn't get plowed. Thought to myself I guess he was right. The town and its public works department has been unable or unwilling to plow the streets after almost a week. They are not actually plowing anything. The trucks I see drive around with their plows up watching the loaders hired to do the work they cannot for some reason. Has anyone seen a town truck actually plowing snow? What are they doing with these trucks? Are rhey just there for moral support?
J D C February 15, 2013 at 05:58 AM
Perhaps I will. Did Scott get yours,or did you give it to him in person?
Fidgty February 16, 2013 at 04:57 AM
All I could do is laugh! If we received the most snow, why were the plows not on the roads last weekend? Maybe the town didn't want to pay for overtime... All I know is its Friday February 15th (a week after the storm) and the plows are FINALLY here. Yes, that's the good thing. The bad thing is its 1130 at night and my wife and I are listening to the workers discuss what bar they should go to after they finish. That pissed us off. Lastly, we appreciate the work that Hamden Parks and Rec does for our community. However, a week later is simply irresponsible for what we pay in property taxes.
Fidgty February 16, 2013 at 05:03 AM
Yes Larry...you are correct. However, in 1978 the weather technology was not what it is today.

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