- Associated Press - Thursday, February 4, 2016

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) - Grand Island residents and city employees are slowly digging out from a blizzard that left 18.3 inches of snow on the ground.

The Grand Island Independent (https://bit.ly/1S3pBoK ) reports that the city’s Street Division will work 12-hour shifts until residential areas are cleared. Workers using motor graders and loaders began plowing Wednesday evening.

However, efforts to clear the city’s emergency routes were slowed when the city’s dump trucks kept getting stuck in snow drifts.

“We were spending more time pulling ourselves out of drifts than we were actually getting anything done,” Street Superintendent Shannon Callahan said.

Callahan would like to see the residential clearing completed in two days, but she’s not sure how long it will take.

The snow also caused some people crossing railroad tracks to get stuck. Sgt. Dale Hilderbrand of the Grand Island Police Department said all of the area’s tracks are in bad shape, but some are worse off than others. Police have temporarily closed the Broadwell and Lincoln crossings, and notified rail officials.

“The snow builds up, and the trains themselves have plows that plow it down for them,” Hilderbrand said. That causes large ruts perpendicular to the traffic. Some vehicles “get into those ruts and get stuck,” he said.

Grand Island emergency management director Jon Rosenlund say workers are making great progress but warned there’s still an “immense job” ahead of them. He pleaded with residents to move their cars out of the way of cleanup efforts.

With snow 18 inches deep, you “can’t just push it to the side and let it melt,” Rosenlund said. He said much of the snow has to be hauled away. Clear roads help expedite that effort.

The snow the city received on Monday and Tuesday was the second-biggest snow event on record for Grand Island, trailing only the 21.6-inch snowfall seen in March 2006.


Information from: The Grand Island Independent, https://www.theindependent.com

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