Cities weather blizzard well, officials say

Above, families with the day off of school and work enjoy the aftermath of the snowstorm at Ford Field in Dearborn Wednesday. Below, Scott Bankey of Dearborn works to clear the snow from his house following the snowstorm.

Photos by Daniel Heraty

Times-Herald Newspapers

The blizzard that struck metropolitan Detroit Tuesday night was not as bad as predicted, but roads still were left a mess.

Mike Rodgers, director of the Roads Division of the Wayne County Department of Public Services, said crews were called in at 2 a.m. and stayed out until 4 p.m.

“We used every person we had,” he said.

Rodgers said snowplows were working in groups of three, along with pickup trucks, which were used to plow boulevards. Loaders, which are used to load trucks with salt, along with graters that also push out snow, were among the tools used to combat the snowfall.

City of Dearborn spokeswoman Mary Laundroche said clearing and salting the roads took until 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, although all 285 miles of residential streets were plowed by noon that day. The effort was easier because of the lower-than-expected snow totals and no ice.

“There were still challenges,” she said, “but dealing with 5 or 6 inches is better than dealing with a foot of snow.”

Laundroche added that police cited 350 residents for parking their cars in the street. Compared to the magnitude of the storm, however, that number was relatively small.

“We had a 70 to 80 percent rate of compliance,” she said, “which is very good.”

Jack Frangil, Dearborn Heights Department of Public Works administrator, agreed.

“It was a lot better than what was expected,” he said.

The snow that fell still caused problems for the crews that were compounded by residents who did not heed the snow emergency.

“We still had people parked in the streets,” Frangil said.

Rodgers said some snow was pushed into streets that already were plowed.

“Local businesses would hire private contractors to plow the snow,” he said, “and they would
plow the snow into the streets.”

Frangil said some work must be done in order to get the streets clean, and that crews will be out today to get anything that was missed.

The crew of 12 people who operated the ice trucks and snowplows had a long day, he said.

“We had some come in at 3 (a.m.), the rest came in at 7,” Frangil said, “and they worked till 9:30 at night.”

(Daniel Heraty can be reached at