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[Updated] Police Chief To Town: "Please Bear With Us. Everybody Is Doing The Best We Can."

Town crews are out, having made progress on the main roads, hope to tackle secondary roads Sunday, and as many side roads as possible. They have been working around the clock to get the job done.

 

Madison Police Chief Jack Drumm says he understands that people who are still snowed in, particularly those without power, are frustrated. 

But he asked that people be patient as the town crews work to clear 30-plus inches of hard-packed snow and ice from the town's roads, following a storm of historic proportions. 

"We are asking people to bear with us," he said. 

First Selectman Fillmore McPherson agreed and said, with all the hard work being done, road clearing may have to continue through Monday or Tuesday and even then, there is no guarantee that all secondary and side roads will be fully cleared. He also asked that neighbors check in with neighbors who may be without power.

Madison Public Schools Superintendent Thomas Scarice said Sunday there will be no school Monday and that, on Monday, he will make a decision about Tuesday. The weather Sunday night into Monday morning, which calls for freezing rain, could potentially slow down road clearing operations. 

  • Madison Chamber of Commerce President Eileen Banisch said Sunday morning that, in another sign of a return to normality, the Madison Coffee Shop opened downtown. 
  • On the west side of town, Nick's was open until about 1 p.m. Sunday. 
  • R. J. Julia also planned to open Sunday. 
  • From Scranton Memorial Library Head Librarian Beth Crowley: "As of Sunday evening we are planning to open the Scranton Library tomorrow at 1:00 PM. All morning programs and meetings are cancelled but afternoon and evening activities will go on as planned."
  • The Madison Flower Shop is open for business with shovels, ice melt etc. Also for Valentine's Day this week, they have fresh flowers for loved ones stuck at home. (If they can get to them). 
  • As of 5 a.m. Monday from Metro-North: New Haven Line train service will operate a regular weekday schedule Today, Monday, February 11th between Stamford and Grand Central Terminal with some cancelations or combinations possible. Limited AM Peak service will resume from stations between New Haven and Stamford. Regular New Canaan and Danbury Service will also resume. The 6:18am from Danbury will run as scheduled. Service will remain suspended on the Waterbury Branch until further notice. No substitute bus service will be provided. See http://alert.mta.info/status/3

President makes emergency declaration for state

Governor Dannel P. Malloy said in a prepared statement Sunday that his request for a presidential emergency declaration in the wake of Friday’s historic winter storm has been approved.  In addition, he is urging residents to continue staying off the roads today unless absolutely necessary.

“This declaration will provide much needed assistance to the state and our towns and cities as we continue to recover from this historic winter storm,” said Governor Malloy.  “While the ban on travel has been lifted, we are continuing to urge residents to stay off the roads, if at all possible.  This is particularly true for tractor trailers.  Every time someone gets stuck, it is preventing plows from doing their jobs.”

This emergency declaration provides for direct federal assistance, including possible snow removal equipment and personnel, power generation, and other commodities.  The declaration also provides federal disaster funding for 75 percent of the cost of emergency protective measures incurred by municipalities, state agencies, and eligible non profits for a 48 hour period.

Governor Malloy also stressed the following:

- Due to road conditions and limited parking availability, residents should begin making plans to carpool to work Monday morning, particularly with state employees.
- Clean snow off the roofs of buildings, especially if they are flat tops.  Also, make sure drainage areas are clear.  With precipitation predicted for Monday, this is an especially important issue to address today.
- Truckers are urged to delay travel until the evening hours, if at all possible, so that crews can continue road clearance efforts.
- Calling 2-1-1 should be used to find locations of shelters and warming stations only.  2-1-1 does not have information on when streets will be plowed.  Please do not call 2-1-1 for plowing information.
- Residents should please remember that our state and city public works personnel are working very hard to get our roads clear.  This was a historic storm, and the recovery effort is going to take some time.

Town continues to respond to all emergency calls

Drumm said the town continues to respond to all emergency calls, and that ambulances are staged in both the north and south ends of town. Payloaders are accompanying the ambulances on calls as need to break up the snow and ice on the roads. 

Drumm, who was out until about 2:30 or 3:00 a.m. Sunday morning, and then back up again working around 7 a.m., said police officers are also continuing to respond to calls. "We walked in if we had to, but we were able to respond to emergency calls," he said. 

Drumm said "I don't think we've ever seen a storm like this ... but the police officers have been out there working. The crews have been out there working, trying to clean up as many sections as we can." 

Town clearing state roads

The state Department of Transportation is responsible for Route 1/Boston Post Road and Route 79, the town's two main thoroughfares. But, probably because of the vast amount of work to be done all over the state, the state was not able to clear those in a timely manner. So the town crews did much of that, Drumm said. "I  understand that the state also has been very, very busy, but we did have to clear the main routes, Routes 1 and 79," Drumm said. "We had to take care of the state roads so we could get the emergency vehicles out." 

"Last night, we finished on Hunter's Trail, we got most of it except for some of the smaller side roads, and it took us like two hours to clear that road, and that's not a big lane. It's because the snow is so heavy. I don't think any town or state is fully equipped" for a storm like this, he said. 

"What we're doing today is we're going back and working on the secondary roads, and as many remote side roads as we can. That's already started, I believe," he said. "Everybody is doing the best they can." 

Working with payloader crews, along with other equipment

Drumm said the town is working with three or four payloader crews, plus the town's other equipment. 

"In some cases, it's a matter also of, where do we put the snow," he said. 

Still, the town hopes to make significant additional progress today, he said. 

"We are hoping to have a major impact today in terms of clearing the snow," Drumm said. 

Neighbors should be looking out for, and helping, neighbors

First Selectman Fillmore McPherson reiterated that and said he wants neighbors to be on the lookout for how they can help neighbors in the wake of the storm. He said, as of Sunday morning, that the number of power outages in town is being steadily reduced.

McPherson asked that neighbors reach out to neighbors and offer them shelter, that would allow the town to focus on continuing to clear the roads, instead of clearing a parking lot at town campus and diverting resources to opening and staffing a shelter.  

He also reminded people, once again, to call CL&P if they are still experiencing a power outage. He recently got an irate email from a constituent complaining about a power outage, but then learned it had not been reported. "If they don't know it's broken, they can't fix it," he said.

Be sure to report your outage

You can report an outage online, or by calling 800-286-2000. 

McPherson said most Route 1 and Route 79 are at least passable, and that crews will begin to turn their attention today to other main roads, secondary roads, and side roads. 

"The trouble is that with so much snow, even the big plow trucks are getting stuck. So we have had to bring in the big front end loaders, the payloaders, the big piece of construction equipment that has the bucket in the front," he said. "That's slow going, but we're going to have to do the roads that way. It's going to be a while." 

Maybe by Monday or Tuesday, but no gaurantees

"We think most of the main roads are passable now, and we're working on secondaries. It's definitely going to be into tomorrow for secondaries and side roads. Hopefully we can get it done by Monday or Tuesday, but we can't guarantee that," he said. "There is a monumental amount of snow on these roads. It's not just simple plowing, we have to bring in the heavy construction equipment." 

"We are doing our best to get it done Monday or Tuesday, but there is no guarantee. It's not going to be today. And I've checked with other towns, they are in exactly the same shape," he said. 

McPherson said some of the main roads in Madison, which should have been cleared by the state, had to be cleared by the town. "We had to devote to the connector and the Boston Post road because they were in such bad shape," he said. "It's definitely not our responsibility but given their importance and that it was not getting done, we had to do that for public safety reasons." 

Alexander Wood February 11, 2013 at 11:21 PM
This is completely unacceptable. The town has completely abdicated it's responsibility to maintain the roads. There are some other cities who have also completely abdicated their responsibilities to keep roads open. The state should have sent the National Guard in to take over any towns that weren't getting close to 100% accessible (not clear, but accessible) by Sunday at sunrise. Madison is obviously incapable of running itself, and it needed and needs intervention from the National Guard, not only with equipment, but with command and control. There are two issues here. The first is the long term equipment. Everyone in town has known for years that the town has a wholly inadequate fleet of trucks. They only have two decent sized trucks that I know of. Maybe there are a couple more now, but they definitely don't have a fleet that's big enough, as even during routine snowstorms, it is HOURS between plowings, when it should be under and hour before trucks come around again, and put more material down.
Alexander Wood February 11, 2013 at 11:31 PM
However, the second issue, is that given the inadequate resources they did have, what did they do with them? Basically nothing. Even if we assume the worst, that the town has two Sterling 10-ton plows, and nothing else big enough to get through three feet of snow, WHAT ON EARTH have those two trucks been doing for the last THREE DAYS? By now, they should have re-opened all the roads (Saturday), widened them to 1.5 lanes and worked on the worst intersections (Sunday), and then widened to 2 lanes and worked on more intersections (Monday). Even if if they had to load them down with whatever really heavy stuff they could find and chain them up, it doesn't take more than THREE DAYS to drive around the town and plow. How long does it take to drive around the town and plow snow? Even getting stuck, and having to back up and ram the snow every couple of hundred yards, two trucks would still have done a pass on just about every road in town by Saturday night. Some heads need to roll for this one, as the people who are running this clown show have squandered town resources (the trucks) to do god knows what while people are snowed in, creating a potentially dangerous situation. Hopefully the state and the towns in the state learn, and prepare their truck fleets so that they can keep up with 3" an hour for about 15 hours with 60mph winds, to avoid having 3+ feet of snow in the way that needs to be cleared.
Alexander Wood February 12, 2013 at 02:49 AM
I live in Groton, CT now, and we were all more or less cleared out on Saturday morning, but it's unbelievable to see towns and cities failing to meet their very basic duties to to keep the roads open. People in New London, Waterbury, and Bridgeport had similar situations where their cities abandoned them. In many cases, the people on the side streets in the cities are even worse off, as there are more people who work hourly and have lost income they need to pay the bills due to unprepared, unequipped, unorganized and inept public works. One street in New London was so bad that the residents spent 8 hours shoveling the street by hand, because the city wasn't going to help them. Of course that wouldn't work in most parts of Madison, since it is much more spread out than New London.
Janet February 12, 2013 at 12:14 PM
Completely agree with Sue and Jay. The budget needs to be reprioritized... We don't need more spending, we need smarter spending.
Mark Jones February 13, 2013 at 02:13 AM
Just our (silent majority) opinion that all police departments need thought out plans, doing things in the safest manner possible, not a leader acting more like a politician with Rookie Trooper Syndrome who thinks he's invincible. Amy B. must either be a current police officer or friend of one. She must have a tree limb on a dangerous live wires she wants cut, without caring about proper safety procedures. The current leap first think later knee jerk lunacy can only last so long before someone gets hurt unnecessarily. Any Chief anywhere at any time who is looking to be bought out of their contract is of concern.

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