Watch CBS News

Chicago Weather: City Begins Clearing Side Streets

CHICAGO (CBS) -- After focusing on keeping arterial streets and Lake Shore Drive clear of snow since heavy snow started falling in Chicago on Sunday night, city crews on Tuesday evening began clearing residential side streets.

Streets and Sanitation Commissioner John Tully said the city deployed a total of 400 snow plows and salt trucks during the course of the storm, which dumped more than 18 inches of snow in some neighborhoods.

As of Tuesday afternoon, those trucks were still focusing on making sure the city's main streets and Lake Shore Drive were clear of snow to keep emergency vehicles and buses moving safely.

With no additional snow having fallen in the afternoon, city officials had crews shift to clearing side streets early Tuesday evening, provided there's no additional snow before then.

"Crews have been working around the clock, and I want to again thank them for their hard work," Tully said.

Winter Storm Uri Brings Ice And Snow Across Widespread Parts Of The Nation
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - FEBRUARY 16: People work to dig out their cars along a residential street on February 16, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. Chicago residents are digging out this morning after a snowstorm coupled with lake-effect snow dumped more than 17 inches of snow in some areas of the city since yesterday. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Many side streets have been left close to impassable due to the overwhelming amount of snow that has fallen since Sunday night, so the sight of snow plows will undoubtedly be a welcome sight for drivers struggling to move their cars.

You can check on the progress of Chicago's snow plows in your neighborhood through the city's Plow Tracker website.

Tully also urged business owners and property managers to designate a handful of parking spaces in their lots to dump snow, rather than pushing it into the streets.

"While we're cleaning the streets, and snow gets pushed back out there, it just makes this process longer, so we're asking for a little cooperation," he said.

Likewise, CTA chief transit officer Donald Bonds said, while public transit workers are working with crews from the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation and Chicago Department of Transportation to clear bus shelters of snow, he noted the city has approximately 11,000 bus stops, so removing all that snow will take some time.

Bonds asked business owners and property managers to help out by clearing bus stops of snow as part of their efforts to shovel sidewalks.

Winter Storm Uri Brings Ice And Snow Across Widespread Parts Of The Nation
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - FEBRUARY 16: Residents clear snow from in front of their homes on February 16, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. The city is digging out after a snowstorm dropped more than 17 inches of snow in the some areas of the city in the past 24 hours. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Meantime ,city crews also will be using heavy equipment to relocate piles of snow to predetermined lots, prioritizing large mounds of snow that have accumulated near schools, hospitals, police stations, and fire stations.

Crews in all 50 wards will relocate piles of snow to predetermined city-owned lots. Tully said people should also help keep kids away from large piles of snow as the work begins to relocate them, because heavy equipment drives can't always see children playing in such heavy snow.

Tully said the sites where the city will relocate snow were identified last summer with the help of aldermen and ward superintendents. The city also works to make sure those sites are not easily accessible to kids who might be tempted to play in the mountains of snow that will end up there, because of all the debris that will be hidden underneath.

"We need to make sure that those areas are secure for children," he said. "It's not just snow sometimes. There's pieces of lawn furniture and everything else in there."

While city workers do not plow Chicago alleys, Tully said garbage truck crews will be tracking alleys so they can catch up with trash collection that has been delayed. Because some garbage truck drivers double as snow plow drivers, Tully said some trash collection routes were not covered the past couple days, and the city plans to have crews working on Saturday to catch up.


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.