Public works says communcation, plows...

Posted at 3:39 PM, Jan 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-21 16:49:57-05

Many took notice at what they felt was a lack of snow removal on the roads.  Omaha’s Public Works Dept. says there's a couple of things that may have led to issues for drivers on W. Dodge Rd.

Tuesday afternoon snow prevented cars from getting up the hill on westbound W. Dodge Rd. before 90th Street.  Police helped push vehicles up the hill, and even closed down that section of Dodge Rd. because they say cars were backed up for half a mile.  Audio reveals police told dispatch about the problems but it took plows a while to shovel the road.

The City of Omaha Public Works says a couple of Dodge area plows were refueling, getting more material, and switching drivers or they would've been there faster.  They add that the Dodge situation wasn't elevated to a high priority quickly enough.

"I don't know if there's a breakdown in communication we have looked at it very carefully, and will implement some changes, and have a more open line of communication with the Omaha Police Department,” said Omaha City Engineer Todd Pfitzer.

The city hasn't had an updated snow plan since 2008 when a consultant gave recommendations like adding an engineer, hiring private contractors for residential streets, and pretreating roads.  Plus more control has gone to field level supervisors to make a call if a major street needs more attention.  The department says they implemented all those recommendations.

Mayor Jean Stothert says the snow budget has increased almost $1 million a year since she's taken office, and it's time to reevaluate the snow plan.

Public Works says they've met all snow performance standards this year.

Pfitzer says drivers need to be responsible for having snow tires on their vehicles in the winter because W. Dodge Rd. only had about 1 1/2 inches of snow on the ground when it was closed.