Amid growing criticism, Atlanta increases snow response fleet from 10 to 58 pieces
January 11th, 2011
11:15 PM ET

Amid growing criticism, Atlanta increases snow response fleet from 10 to 58 pieces

The city of Atlanta expanded its fleet of snow response equipment from 10 pieces to 58 Tuesday amid mounting criticism over what many considered the city's failure to adequately prepare and respond to the biggest snow event in at least a decade.

So far, city crews have focused on clearing high priority routes, such as bridges and roads leading to hospitals, and providing emergency and essential services to residents, Mayor Kasim Reed said Tuesday. Of those 200 miles of high priority roadways, 150 have been cleared, and crews worked on clearing neighborhood and side streets Tuesday night after obtaining more equipment from private contractors.

Many of those streets are maintained by the Georgia Department of Transportation, which is partnering with the city to clean the streets tonight.

“The City of Atlanta is working tirelessly to ensure that the roads are clear of ice and snow and I want to thank our residents for staying off the roads to help facilitate this process,” Mayor Reed said. “In one of the worst snow storms in a decade, we have expanded our fleet from 10 to 58 pieces of equipment and have been coordinating seamlessly across city departments and partnering with other jurisdictions to keep our streets safe.”

Reed said the city had attempted to prepare for the snowstorm, which left most major roads, interstates and sides streets covered in ice, paralyzing the city with widespread closures of schools and businesses. Residents are still being encouraged not to drive tomorrow to allow cleanup crews to effectively clear the roads.

He acknowledged, however, that preparations before the storm that grew the fleet from 10 to 22 pieces of equipment was not enough, as officials had hoped it would be based on previous snow events.

"I think what surprised us was the quickness of the accumulation when the snow started falling," he said. "It turns out that double wasn't enough. We did not anticipate that this was going to be one of four biggest snow event in ten years."

Since then, Reed said the city has been working swiftly to acquire more equipment to clear the streets of ice and slush that has accumulated. But the city has had to compete with other municipalities short on resources for this kind of event for the equipment, Reed said.

"Governments from across the region are all in competition for equipment," he said. "We are doing this so the city doesn't have to purchase mass amounts of equipment that we may never use again."

Parts of the city saw up to 5 inches of snow Sunday night, which may not seem like a lot in absolute terms, but is significant in a city that has an average snowfall of 2.5 inches and considers a fleet of 10 salt spreaders and motor blades generally adequate for its purposes.

By comparison, the city of Cleveland, Ohio (where 80 inches of snow fell during the 2008 to 2009 winter season), had a snow removal fleet of 62 trucks and 13 road graders ready for Tuesday's snowfall, The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.

Reed noted one statistic that he considered the most significant measure of the city's response.

"We are not aware of any death that is snow-related, so as tough as it has been since this snow event began, we have not lost a life that we are aware of as a result of one of the most significant snow events we have ever had."

Read more about the winter storms heading up the Eastern seaboard
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Filed under: Weather • Winter weather
soundoff (444 Responses)
  1. Leon

    The city has not done a fine job because of inept city workers and lack of preparation. Most roads are iced in or poorly plowed that I was on today . I an, sure they could have easily bought used plows from up north . Worse yet the state has failed miserably to do its part. The main streets in Atlanta like Peachtree are state maintained roads with almost no state attempts to clear. The new governor does not have a clue and the interstates are treachorous or completely blocked. Again he is claiming they need to spend $250,000 for each plow and are stuck with regular dumptrucks as plows or sanders. Obviously he is clueless.
    Up north dump trucks are the main plows and even garbage trucks are outfitted with plows. Eleven plows for a city of this size is clearly not enough and this is the second significant snowstorm this winter.

    January 12, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. scheelite1961

    Ever hear the phrase "A deer in the headlight", that is how Atlanta's Mayor looks today.

    January 12, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jay

    The sheeple that live in the south shouldn't complain about the lack of snow removal. It just doesn't snow that much down here to justify spending millions of dollars to have equipment that might be used once every 20 years. Deal with it.

    January 12, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  4. charile

    Looks like the nobel prize winner is getting his point proven with all the warming going on, wouldn't you say?!

    January 12, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Don_J

      Nobody likes a HATER!

      January 12, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  5. r rega

    GDOT(State of Georgia)gets an F for state of emergency ice control on major routes(interstates,etc).Sure,non-essential vehicles shouda,coulda,woulda stayed off the roads for a few days.But this has interferred with a lot of interstate commerce.I would think that a lot of business has been hampered.Be like the Scouts...Be prepared.

    January 12, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  6. tarvitz

    OMG what ever would we do with out our government... how did people live 60 years ago especially through snowstorms..

    January 12, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • KLee

      No joke, huh? OMG the government needs to do save us from an ice storm! They need to bail me out and pay to have my house rebuilt because of Katrina! They need to pay me because I have six kids and no job! No wonder Obama got voted into office. The people with any actual survival instincts in this world are slowly being outnumbered. Count on someone else to get you out of a pinch, until they all turn their backs on you and you're left to fend for yourself. I really hope these people never get in a real bind where they actually have to SURVIVE something. They'd be screwed!

      January 12, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Anissa

    Well personaly, I think that Atlanta officials completely dropped the ball. We all knew that this weather was coming since LAST Wednsday. So Sunday before the snow\ice came, they should have salted the roads, then when the snow came to salt the roads again. If they would have salted and\or sanded the roads before the ice came the roads wouldn't have iced over so bad. Then as it was snowing officials should have been plowing the Hwys and Interstates. There is absolutely no excuse for I-85 being closed and other major hwys if the would have taken prevenative precautions before the weather.

    January 12, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Spctater

    Waaaa, Waaaa, Waaaaa

    January 12, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. tel

    Northern states or southern states-when you get unusual snow storms you are not going tpo be back to normal in a couple of days. The media should just SHUT UP and trying to outdo others media for ratings. It is only the 'negative' and 'the how bads' that are played up.The media builds up an expectations that everything will be normal in 24 hours or in an hour. America's dumbest media–dah DAH!!!!

    January 12, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jest Typin'

    How long is the line at The Varsity? HAH! Whaddya Have?? Craving Chili Cheese Slaw Dog fron 500 miles away!

    January 12, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. percysmama

    This is silly. It does not snow in Atlanta enough for them to have proper snow removal. Why can't everyone chil for a few days at home and stop creating more traffic. It will melt and sooner than these panic stricken people think. Also you do not need a month of groceries. People eat you freezer and pantry out. I am sure they could use a good cleaning. So what if for a few days you do not have exactly what you want for every meal. It will not kill you. Water is very good to drink and as far as I have heard there is still running water.

    January 12, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Broomball

    Too often rare weather events whip up mass hysteria for better city preparation. Whether it's 2 feet of snow in NYC or 2 inches in Atlanta, the city shuts down for a day or two when it happens. Why is this such a problem? Better to shut down the city 2 days out of 10 years than to keep a huge fleet of snow-removal vehicles capable of clearing a once a decade storm in a day.

    January 12, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Thatguy371

    First off, to all you 'yankees', I have lived in the south (originally from MD) for over 35 years, and have found there to be no inbred hicks that I can find, no one is married to their sister, and amazingly enough, no watermelon eating jockey statues or tires painted white and buried halfway in the dirt. I realize that may be a shock to your upbringing and obviously flawed knowledge of what southern people are all about, so take a moment and catch a breath.

    Having said that, Atlanta simply did not prepare enough for this snow storm. I don't care what Kasim says. There ARE ways to prepare for the worst case scenario, and they should've done that. Just because NYC screwed up recently, doesn't mean Atl should feel ok doing the same. People certainly pay a premium in taxes in the area, and they expect good services for their money. Not too much to ask for.

    January 12, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • percysmama

      How are they suppose to prepare? Spend your tax dollars on snow equipment they do not need and then what sell it or let if rust until the next storm? Atlanta does not get enough snow. Why can you not stay home for a few days?

      January 12, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  14. John

    @Bob Camp–"It's the yankee's who usually get into car accidents down there when it snows. They aren't used to driving on untreated roads."

    In your dreams buddy. WE Yankees know how to handle it. Southern wussies are oblivious.

    January 12, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Corey

      Right. You Yanks are so smart. Enjoying your shrinking population and absurd taxes?

      January 12, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • OMG

      The investment is worth it. They can buy used. They can lease. It's worth the amount of money this city lost over the last 3 days. Somebody put an accountant on it! Me personally, I never miss work so by the time January rolls around and this city shuts down, my company pays me for every day I stay home regardless. But there are some people who are not in that position and when they miss work, they lose money. Not to mention the money that the major corporations are losing who move here and provide (us) with thousands of jobs. THE INVESTMENT IS WORTH IT.

      January 12, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Rick D

    Come on. Once in every 10 years and you expect the city to buy and stare at 100's of plows until their needed. Get a life. The way to solve this nonsense is to make sure if the Mayor or the Governor declares a state of emergency, make it a crime to be out on the street. Period. Stay home. Stay off the roads. I'd also get rid of the "free will employment crap" so if the the mayor or the governor says stay home, you stay home and you can't get fired. It's for a day or two for Gods' sake.

    January 12, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
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