CT cities, towns brace for weekend storm - WFSB 3 Connecticut

CT cities, towns brace for weekend storm

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New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart said plow drivers will be working overtime this weekend. (WFSB) New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart said plow drivers will be working overtime this weekend. (WFSB)
NEW BRITAIN, CT (WFSB) -

Officials in municipalities across Connecticut spent Friday preparing for Winter Storm Ali.

The New Britain Department of Public Works met with Mayor Erin Stewart on Friday morning.

"All the guys are going to come in and do what we gotta do to get the storm cleaned up and make it safe for the public," Troy Grenier with the New Britain Department of Public Works said.  

Stewart said the city installed GPS devices on all of its trucks. The plows will cover 13 zones around the city. Their movement tracked and potentially modified from the command center. 

"We'll be able to make sure our resources are allocated in ways to make sure emergency snow routes are opened up first responders can get to areas of town that have larger snow drifts than others," Stewart said. 

Stewart said these actions will save costs especially at a time when the city is facing staff reductions and budget cuts. She’s asking people at home to help crews too.

"Moving your car off the street is going to make it much easier to get our vehicles and our plow trucks down the street and clear it from curb to curb as quickly as possible," Stewart said. 

Stewart advised residents to stay home this weekend. 

Grenier said clearing snow during rush hour is very difficult so the less people and vehicles on the road the more quickly they can get snow off the roads. Grenier added he and his staff miss holidays because of the snow. 

"We’re always out there when the public needs us. We’re here for them,"  Grenier said. 

While crews will be working overtime this weekend to clear snow, Stewart said she hopes the new technology will make the snow-clearing efforts more efficient.

"It's going to help tremendously because it’s going to allow us to make sure our resources are in the right place at the right time," Stewart said.

Stewart said all of the city's plows will be out on the roads this weekend.

While city and town employees were preparing for the wicked weather, residents were making a mad dash on Friday morning to pick up shovels and rock salt. 

The City of East Haven, much like New Britain, told Eyewitness News that they plan to dispatch their entire fleet of 18 plow trucks that will be plowing and treating the 90 miles of East Have roads. 

East Haven Mayor Joe Maturo said preparation started this morning. 

"We always like to be prepared," said Maturo. "Our budget is about 20% more than last year, because last year, quite frankly we didn't get the type of snow we expected, so we have about $220,000 in there for this winter."

"We've got 500 tons of sand and salt in our salt shed, we've got another 120 of our magic salt, which is a salt that's infused with molasses and it has a little adhesion factor, and with a town that's 90 miles of road, 12 miles long, its a tough town to plow," said Superintendent of Operations of East Haven Public Works, Bobby Parente.

"This morning, phone's ringing off the hook," David Katz who owns Goody's True Value Hardware in East Haven said. "Channel 3 is saying its going to be 3 to 6 inches."

All of those customers said they simply want to be prepared for the upcoming weather.

"[I] want to be sure that my dog's paws don't get hurt, so they have ice melt that's good for pets," Howie Blau, of New Haven, said. 

Katz said they were prepared with more than 150 pallets of ice melt, 80 snow blowers in stock with more on the way. 

"I'm not sure what happens to the shovels over the summer, but that's the biggest thing," Katz said. "Every year people are looking for shovels and they can't figure out what happened to them 6 months ago. That's the funniest thing."

As for that storm that's making it way towards Connecticut, loyal customers at Goody's True Value Hardware said they're ready for whatever winter brings.

"When you get to my age, you're just happy to be alive and it doesn't make a damn bit of a difference, what the weather is," Homie Bali, of New Haven, said. "You're just happy to be alive and be healthy."

For the latest on the forecast, head here.

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