Gov. Dannel P. Malloy lifted the statewide travel ban as of 4 p.m. Saturday, however, West Hartford residents are strongly urged to avoid the town's roads until the Department of Public Works has finished clearing the snow.
The lifting of the statewide ban applies to all roads, including limited access highways. However, in a prepared statement, Gov. Malloy said, "While we are lifting the ban on travel this afternoon at 4 p.m., I still want to urge residents to stay off the roads if at all possible. Crews are out clearing roadways as we speak, but the fact is we are going to feel the impact of this storm for some time. The longer we can keep traffic out of town centers and off of our highways, the more effective our recovery effort will be."
That message should be taken very seriously in West Hartford, where Mayor Scott Slifka sent out his second recorded message of the day to residents, firmly requesting them to stay off the roads.
Slifka said that 35 to 40 percent of West Hartford's roads have been cleared as of Saturday afternoon, including all arterial roads. All remaining roads should be cleared by Sunday evening, he said.
There are still 34 plows presently at work clearing West Hartford's streets, said Slifka, and they have been working continuously for 36 hours. "The fewer cars that are on the streets, the faster the DPW can get around," he said.
Many residents are experiencing cabin fever, and choosing to walk places. "If you choose to walk somewhere tonight, please walk with extreme caution," Slifka said.
All libraries and recreational facilities will remain closed on Sunday.
No decision has yet been made about the opening of school on Monday, but that will likely be a topic of discusison at tomorrow's meeting of the town's emergency operations committee, Slifka said.
"Its not just about the clearing of the roads. It's the sidewalks, cross streets, parking lots, building safety," he said. The safety of school buildings will be assessed tomorrow, and further information will be provided as it becomes available.
In his message, Slifka also asked that residents help the West Hartford Fire Department by clearing hydrants. "There are 1555 fire hydrants in town. If you live near one, the Fire Department asks that you clear snow around the hydrant to the best of your ability. When an fire emergency occurs, second counts. Your help is sincerely appreciated," he said.
"A lot of our residents have been expressing frustration," said Slifka, but others have been pleased with the town's efforts to clean up after a snowfall of epic proportion.
"We appreciate people being patient," he said.