Bridgeport, Conn. (WTNH) - The effects of the Winter of 2011 still resonate with folks across Connecticut. The recent snow from the autumn nor'easter may be just a prelude of what we could see this season. In Bridgeport, the city is looking to avoid a repeat of last season's chaos.
"This is New England ... and you never know," said Bobby Kennedy, the deputy director of Bridgeport Public Facilities. "We could get a large storm, a small storm, anything can happen."
And anything did, in the form of our autumn nor'easter very early in the season on the last weekend of October. The Park city wasn't hit as hard as cities and towns to the north, but they did respond to clear and sand. We took a tour of the roadway maintenance garage just before that first winter storm hit.
"We have spreaders and everything checked out so all we have to do now, (we) have to be loaded once it starts, anytime a storm is predicted," Kennedy said.
The city learned some lessons from last winter with the massive snowfall. They used four thousand tons of salt last year on 400 miles of roads in Bridgeport. This year, their priorities remain the same.
"Going out and opening up main roads, and plowing, sanding -- hospitals, police departments, fire departments, schools -- concentrate on that first."
Kennedy says timing is key. Last winter was the first time Bridgeport used brine, a salt and water combination mixed in a tank, put in a truck, then spread on the roads before the precipitation falls.
"That's the biggest thing," Kennedy said, "getting guys out there, streets treated with brine or with salt and then you can go from there."
Mark Wexler lives in the Black Rock section of the city on Davidson Street. It's on the 'small streets' list. Crews know from last year a big plow won't fit.
"There was one bad storm where it took them a while to everywhere, but I didn't see any problems," Wexler said. "I was fairly impressed with the job right here."
"We'd add that to our small streets list and that's become a regular route every year," ______ said. "This year we have most of these streets already listed."
Because the snow from the autumn nor'easter turned to slush quickly on the shoreline, plowing small streets was not an issue. There are two trucks assigned to that task. But when there are big storms, they need more help from the people who live in Bridgeport. Those folks need to move their cars and obey alternate side parking rules.
"Most of the time they are angled, because of snow, and we just can't get down there," Kennedy said. "If they could just move them, we'd have a better shot at cleaning their streets and moving on faster."
Kennedy says the city will identify empty lots at businesses and schools where people can put their cars while the city plows.
"Since I've been here, and I've been here 29 years, last year was the worst and it was constant," Kennedy said.
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