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West Hartford Issues State of Emergency With Complete Driving Ban Imposed Until Further Notice

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has also ordered all roads in the state closed, and West Hartford's State of Emergency emphasizes that it applies to all roads in town, Mayor Scott Slifka said.

As of 8 a.m. Saturday, the Town of West Hartford issued a State of Emergency, and has imposed a complete driving ban on all town roads.

"It looks like you can go out, but cars are getting stuck everywhere. Even 4-wheel-drive vehicles," said Mayor Scott Slifka Saturday morning. He said that National Guard may be assisting with clean-up efforts in West Hartford.

Slifka said that people, thinking that they can drive, have been leaving their houses this morning, and then getting stuck. Even large snow removal equipment has been getting stuck.

"This is seriously impeding the Department of Public Works from getting through to clear the roads. Even worse, it can impede police and other emergency vehicles from getting through," said Slifka.

At 5:15 a.m., Director of Public Works John Phillips said in an email, "We are giving blizzard 'whatever its name is' everything we have, but fatigue has set in with most drivers. I have no choice but to force rest period for my most diehard plow operators. Travel is IMPOSSIBLE and will be for some time to come. We cannot even begin to put a time frame on restoration. Our own trucks are getting stuck because of extremely poor visibility and extraordinary amounts of snow, both accumulation and drifts."

By 8:15, Phillips reported that although 95 percent of arterial roads had been cleared after an incredible 18 hours of work, residents need to heed the requirement to stay off the roads.

There are still 5-foot-high "snow windows" at almost every cross street, and Phillips said that even the largest snow plows have been getting stuck clearing West Hartford's streets.

"We have a large loader with chains dedicated to respond to stuck calls," Phillips said..

Vehicles abandoned on the roads last night are being removed by the West Hartford police.

"I realize when folk look out their window it may seem like that we will never come. Please be patient, we are working hard to get to every neighborhood and all true emergencies are the top priority," said Phillips. "To reiterate our goal right now – we are spot on focused on opening every road in town, passable in two direction, but travel lanes will be narrow. We can do the impossible, however we cannot make miracles." 

The message received from Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, issued in a news release early this morning, reads: "It's critical right now that residents stay off the roads, so that our plows can continue their efforts to clear our streets and highways. This is a record setting storm.  It's going to take time to dig out of the snow. Stalled or abandoned vehicles will only slow that process. Unless you face an emergency, please stay put."

Kelly Ann February 09, 2013 at 08:25 PM
Who do you contact to see when a street is going to be plowed?
Will P. February 09, 2013 at 10:00 PM
Kelly, You had a week to prepare for this. Calling around and inquiring about your street will only waste resources. Everyone is aware that it snowed last night, give the truck drivers time to work. I am sure they are busting their chops. Relax, have some wine and calm down.
REM February 09, 2013 at 10:39 PM
A friend of mine had a heart attack from shoveling snow in West Hartford an hour ago..Ambulance called, roads were/are STILL impassable and it couldnt get to him. He died.. Enjoy your wine and hope you wont need the streets cleaned up in a more timely manner to avoid your own death. I have lived in several towns with many tight streets and difficult hills in Connecticut where the snow is removed much faster and at half the annual city tax rate bill to the home owner/ taxpayer. The town also had weeks to prepare and came up short. Unbelievable.
Jennifer February 09, 2013 at 11:40 PM
Seems like you should take your own advice, Will P. Kelly is asking for information, which is appropriate on this site. How about a calm, non-judgemental answer for your fellow resident?
DBone February 10, 2013 at 12:18 AM
Just got off the phone with the police. They are done plowing for today. Restarting at 2am. This is ridiculous.
htfdcolt February 10, 2013 at 01:22 AM
Don't think that's true...one just came through our street (Golf Club area) for the first time!

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