Akron to revise snow removal plan after January storm left residents trapped

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AKRON, Ohio – A paralyzing late January snowstorm crippled much of Northeast Ohio, but it was the response over the days that followed that left the city of Akron issuing an apology to its residents.

Some side streets remained unplowed and untreated more than five days after the storm. Residents like Bob McMeeken were unable to leave his house to get to work.

“We don’t expect it to snow and then a half hour later, they are here. But after it goes several days and weeks without snowing, it’s hard to get out of your drive and on the main streets to go to work,” he reminisced on Wednesday, nine months after first speaking with FOX 8.

The city apologized to residents saying, “The level of service we provided has fallen short of what our residents rightly expect.”

Part of the explanation at the time was that Akron had a contract with the Ohio Department of Transportation to clear the major highways passing through Akron using city crews.

On Wednesday, the city of Akron will announce the contract has been canceled, which will free up resources to better address secondary streets this coming winter. The canceled contract is just a part of what the city is expected to announce in a revised snow removal plan.

Residents who were trapped on their streets for days after the January storm hope the city will do better.

“I think they did a good job on the main streets. It’s just these side streets, you know’ plow more. That’s all I can say, you know. Plow more,” John Lichtenberger said. His truck was stuck on his street for several days while he and other neighbors on Seminola Avenue helped push people out who became stuck.

Many residents understand there are storms where the city’s resources can be temporarily overwhelmed, but said they believe the city’s secondary streets should be a higher priority in the plan that will be announced on Wednesday.

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