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Only Oswego

Oswego-Area Agencies Continue Battle Against Weekend Blizzard

Feb 03, 2015 01:15PM ● By Steven Jack

Dozens of area drivers have found themselves stuck in the ditch in the days since this weekend's blizzard. (Photo courtesy of Maureen Sanchez)

Two days after the area’s fifth biggest blizzard in history, local public agencies continue to fight treacherous road conditions. 

A combination of about 15 inches of snow, 40 mph winds and single-digit temperatures has made for difficult driving conditions around town since the storm, with Wolf’s Crossing Road developing into a snow-covered sheet of ice from Route 34 to Route 30.

“This is not a perfect process, and we are working on these major problem areas,” said Oswego Village President Brian LeClercq Tuesday morning. “We’re working on making this a better and smarter process.”

As reports continued Tuesday morning of dozens of cars spinning off roads, LeClercq said village crews have been working day and night to clear roads. Salt is being applied, but low temperatures are causing the roads to re-freeze over night, he said. 

Asked to grade the village's efforts in snow removal since the blizzard, LeClercq said it's too soon to tell. 

"This is the fifth biggest event in history, and I think it's important to keep that in perspective," he said. "Staff and I will be meeting to discuss how we can do things better just like we always do."

Wolf's Crossing update

Despite Wolf’s Crossing going in and out of several jurisdictions from Routes 34 to 30, Public Works Director Jennifer Hughes said plowing it is the village’s responsibility. She said the village is continuing to repeatedly salt and plow the road.

“With this hard-pack snow and ice, unfortunately the plow blades can’t get all the way to the pavement, so we have to scrape it off as it melts. It would be nice if our blades went down that far, but it doesn’t work that way.” Hughes said. "(The process) is working, and things are improving.”

The village salted Wolf’s Crossing twice Tuesday morning and will do so again at about 2 p.m. in hopes for improved conditions by Tuesday's afternoon commute.

“With the sun and traffic, we’re hoping it’s better than it was this morning,” Hughes said. “I don’t want to say it will be clear, but it will be better." 

Cul-de-sac clearing

LeClercq said he is also aware of plowing issues in village cul-de-sacs. The village contracts with a private firm to clear the majority of its 223 cul-de-sacs, but plowing them can be a time-consuming process, Hughes said. 

“These are very tight quarters and they can be tricky,” she said. “First, it can take a while just to get back in there, and second there is a lot of pavement and driveways in a small area and not a lot of room to put the snow.”

School issues

Many parents also had concerns about road conditions around Oswego schools. One parent reported cars stuck in the drop-off line at Fox Chase Elementary School Tuesday morning. 

Hughes said village crews are currently prioritizing the roads near schools in anticipation of Tuesday dismissal; however, she said School District 308 is responsible for clearing school grounds.

District 308 Communications Director Brian Graves has yet to respond to questions regarding the progress of snow removal at schools. 

County roads

As for rural county roads, Kendall County Emergency Management Agency director Joe Gillespie said county crews continue their work. 

“I know this snow storm was very difficult for plowing crews to deal with because the blizzard conditions they couldn’t see. Then obviously these freezing cold temperatures make it that much more difficult to remove the snow. Chemicals and salts don’t work as well when it gets super, super cold,” he said.