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  • Wed December 19 2012
  • Posted Dec 19, 2012

Public works employees will be working through the night on sidewalks, roadways and even bike paths throughout Altoona.

“We’re actually one of the few communities that opens our (trails) up in the winter,” Public Works Superintendent Aaron Putnam said.

With a blizzard expected to begin this afternoon, Putnam said the 10-man road crew alone – with two road graders, two dual-axle heavy duty plows and six large plow trucks – cannot handle the approximate 100 miles of roadway and bike paths alone. Staff members from the parks and recreation and utilities departments will help clear the surfaces.

Meteorologists are predicting a rainy, wintry mix beginning early Wednesday afternoon, which will turn to snow and a full-fledged blizzard by 6 p.m. Putnam said he is particularly concerned about high winds expected to reach 40 mph.

“The wind will actually cause us more problems than the snow,” Putnam said, noting drifting issues and accumulation blowing around and covering roads that have already been cleared.

Altoona police said the street ordinance will begin as soon as accumulation reaches 1 inch anywhere in the city, and will remain in effect for 48 hours after snow fall stops. No vehicles may be parked on the road during this time.

Lt. Denny Park with Altoona police said he hopes residents will only drive when absolutely necessary and especially keep off the road during the blizzard.

“They shouldn’t be driving unless they absolutely have to,” he said.

Putnam said it would be ideal to have a smaller warm up snow storm, but the city is ready regardless.

“It would be nicer of course if we could choose to have a warm up, just like any operation you can do. But we’re all experienced,” Putnam said.


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