I-Team: Cleveland doesn’t send out plowing crews during weekend snowstorm


CLEVELAND (WJW) – The FOX 8 I Team spent the day investigating why the city of Cleveland didn’t have crews out plowing and salting the streets this weekend during a snowstorm.

We found that extra city plow crews were not scheduled Saturday night as snow fell in Northeast Ohio for hours.

In Cleveland, even police officers were asking where road crews were.

A police radio recording shows one officer asking, “Do you know if the plows are out?”

A dispatcher responds with, “Just so you know, crews aren’t coming out until 11 p.m., but they have been notified about that location. They will be out there.”

More than an hour before 11 p.m., a car crashed into an RTA bus on the Detroit-Superior Bridge.

A 911 caller to county dispatch reported, “There’s several people hurt in a car.”

A dispatcher responded with, “Stay on the phone. I’m going to transfer you. It must be really bad outside.”

Twice in recent days, city hall sent out a news release saying the city had plenty of plows, salt and more to handle winter weather. So, we wondered why the crews weren’t out as the snow fell.

We contacted the mayor’s office, and we went to a public works complex asking questions. A man who came to the door at one office told us, “I can’t tell you anything.”

In a truck garage, a man in the office told us, “You know you can’t be here. You’ve got to go downtown or talk to the press secretary.”

Hours later, the mayor’s office released a statement that said, in part, street plow crews are scheduled to begin working weekends next week.

The statement also said, ” As temperatures began to fall Saturday night, the city of Cleveland brought in 12 drivers on one shift to salt bridges, hills and overpasses. As the temperatures fell even further, we brought in 28 drivers on the next shift to do the same. The city was able to efficiently salt and plow as needed.”

Meanwhile, the snow also impacted Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

Passengers flew in from Dallas late Saturday night on American Airlines. Then, they sat on the plane for 90 minutes before the plane could move to the terminal.

American Airlines says the delay was “due to weather conditions.”

One passenger told us, “We sat there. I know for a fact that nobody knew it was going to be that long. We live in Cleveland, Ohio. It’s not like this was a surprise.”

Hopkins Airport tells us crews there plowed, but a snow squall pounded the airport for an hour. The airport says its priority before moving passengers is safety.

The Ohio Department of Transportation had crews out on highways before the snow even started falling.

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