Akronites can expect to see a big improvement over last year in snow and ice removal, according to a plan city officials rolled out Wednesday.
The new strategy is in answer to public outcry over sluggish snow removal from city streets during a major storm last January.
The five-point plan includes ending a 50-year contract with the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT). The city will recoup the lost dollars through its share of the gas tax.
The move will free up five large plow trucks, said Mayor Dan Horrigan.
“These are the largest double axle trucks used to plow snow,” Horrigan said. "Ending the ODOT contract also means that employees and salt used on interstates will be used for local and Akron city roads."
The city also added three one-ton trucks and outfitted 13 smaller trucks with plows and salt spreaders. Horrigan says the additional vehicles ramp up the city’s snow removal capability by 40 percent.
Drivers manning the trucks will also be better prepared, said Public Service Director John Moore.
“Our plow truck drivers will enter the first snow this winter with better training including more in truck time with experienced drivers which will help them with their new job,” he said. “We’ve also done some enhanced classroom training. We’ve already worked with our local private contractors this year. We’ve given them maps in the event we need them in a heavy snow event. They are on board and ready to go for us.”
The plan also features a new tool, soon available on the city’s website, that will enable residents to check the status of snow removal in their neighborhoods and across the city.