Monday, February 8, 2010

Monday Rush Tough

Many businesses and schools are closed today but that did not help the commute much this morning. Much of downtown was in gridlock this morning as cars slipped around on snow packed streets that were narrowed by high walls of plowed snow. A tractor-trailer became stuck downtown when it hit a snow bank trying to turn from one street to another. Pittsburgh Public Works Director Rob Kaczorowski says that issue was repeated elsewhere in the city. Kaczorowski says city crews are now spending most of their time working on secondary streets. He says about 45% of those secondary streets have been plowed. The city has enlisted the help of Penn Dot and Allegheny County to help with the effort. Kaczorowski says heavy equipment is being used to not just plow, but to actually remove snow from side streets. They are also using the state’s heavier plows to break up the “snow pack” that has accumulated on some streets. Kaczorowski is asking residents to help, “Please, please, do not put snow back on the streets. I know you have a 4-foot pile of snow, put it behind your vehicle, in front of your vehicle, but please do not put it back on the street.” City officials are asking residents to not use the 311 line to report that their street has not been plowed. Residents are asked to leave that line open for people with power problems.
The Port Authority was able to get 100 of it 160 routes moving this morning. The buses did not go down side streets but were able to service most of the primary roads. The Authority was able to get the “T” working those morning but passengers had to get off at the First Ave. station. A “power issue” kept the light rail trains from proceeding to wood street and steel plaza stations. PAT has a list of all of its operating routes on its website.
Duquesne Light had 4,300 customers still without power at 8:00 this morning. That was down from a high of 57,000 Saturday morning. Duquesne Light spokesperson Joseph Vallarian says crews are being slowed by the high number of tree limbs that are down taking out small pockets or individual homes. He says crews at times are also having problems getting to the downed lines. The company has brought in 74 line workers from outside of the area. Vallarian expects to have most customers on by midnight tonight and the rest by Wednesday. However another storm is expected to roll into the Pittsburgh region Tuesday night.

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