Local News

Raleigh Hopes To Improve Snow Removal

Posted January 3, 2002

— The roads in the Triangle area are OK right now, but that could change in a matter of hours. After the blizzard of 2000, drivers complained that roads were not cleared in Raleigh, while next door in Cary, the pavement was clean. This year, Raleigh hopes to improve its track record.

When people think of snow removal, they think of plows and towering mountains of salt. But in Cary, the most powerful snow removal tool is a computer.

Cary has 450 miles of roadways in its computer system, color-coded in order of priorities. Major roads come first, major arteries through subdivisions second, and finally, residential streets and cul-de-sacs.

Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker said the city learned a lot from the blizzard of 2000. In addition to staff, Raleigh has private contractors on standby to clean roads.

"We've got 40 trucks that have both salt spreaders and plows, over 1,700 tons of salt and we're ready to go, first, looking after bridges and overpasses and then the main thoroughfares," he said.

After four-lane roads, Raleigh will clean CAT bus routes, major two-lane roads and finally residential streets. Meeker is sure the city will weather the storm.

"I guess [I'm] a little nervous, but there's somewhat of a kid in me. I plan to go sledding tomorrow, so I'm looking forward to it, assuming we have some snow," he said.

Raleigh will have about 100 people working on storm duty. Cary will have a staff of 50 people starting Wednesday evening to handle the storm.

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