Dover snow is fun for some, work for others

DOVER — Dover resident Jack Brighton cleared the path on his sidewalk not by shoveling, but by using his John Deere tractor to help get rid of the snow that’s plagued the city for the past few days.

“This is playtime for me,” Mr. Brighton said. “This is therapy. Shoveling isn’t therapy. I do everyone’s yards. I just want to help everyone. That’s what good neighbors do.”

Residents were seen shoveling their sidewalks or clearing cars on Monday after the weekend snowstorm dumped more than a foot of snow in Central Delaware.

Delaware Department of Transportation and city of Dover snow trucks cleared roads throughout the city as well.

Classes are canceled for Kent County public school students on Tuesday, as well as for Academy of Dover, Campus Community, Early College High School, Positive Outcomes, St. Thomas More and Providence Creek Academy.

Indian River, Milford, Seaford and Woodbridge in Sussex County also are closed for students while Sussex Academy and Sussex Tech are on a two-hour delay.

Staff for some districts are on a delayed start. Parents and staff are advised to check schools’ status at schoolclosings.delaware.gov.

By Monday afternoon most major intersections and roadways were clear while others seemed to be tough going for drivers.

But city officials said clearing residential areas will be a main priority for the next few days.

“We’re working on clearing the other developments, but we wanted to make sure our emergency routes and critical roads were clear,” said Dover Emergency Management spokeswoman Kay Sass.

“We’re trying to clear the developments as much as we can.”

Three large water mains broke in the city over the weekend — at Carnoustie Road, Barrister Place and Walker Road — which caused a delay in plowing the roads.

“Our belief is that they occurred because we had gone from such a mild winter to such a brutal change so quickly, causing the water mains to break,” Ms. Sass said. “They took a long time to fix. We had to stop plowing the roads to go repair them.”

The crews been working nonstop since last Friday.

“Once that was over they were out on the roads again,” Ms. Sass said. “They’re still working. There are three contracting companies with multiple crews.”

She said they doubled back on some of the roads.

“This snow was very light and then it was very wet. It then went to 13 degrees, so that caused a lot of ice to be underneath the snow,” she said. “We’re just doing the best we can to clear as many roads as possible.”

But residents had mixed feelings about the city’s efforts.

“I think they did a fantastic job,” Mr. Brighton said. “I think they were right on top of it. It was outstanding.”

But Camden resident Kevin Truitt didn’t think the roads in Dover were as clear as they should have been.

“It was night and day,” Mr. Truitt said. “As I was coming through Camden, it seemed as though the roads were pretty clear, but when I got to Dover it seemed pretty bad. They were a lot worse than I thought it would have been.

“But you try to do what you can. With the city restrictions with parking on each side of the roads I know it was tough. They were just doing what they could do, so I understand it.”

Tom Smith, owner of The Delaware Store at 325 S. State St. in Dover, believes the city did a decent job but would like for crews to do a better job clearing sidewalks along the businesses in downtown Dover.

“I would like for them to clean up the sidewalks better,” Mr. Smith said. “I would like for the city to enforce the rules a little better for owners to clean up the snow in front their stores.”

Mayor Robin Christiansen said he understands everyone’s concerns and hopes to continue to improve on clearing the roads moving forward.

“I think we did a good job,” he said. “Could we have done things a little bit better? I think so. But I think we did a terrific job.”

Another issue the city faced was helping those who were out before the driving ban was lifted, Mayor Christiansen said.

“Cars got stuck and we had to help those people out,” he said.

But through all the obstacles he thinks the city handled them effectively.

“I think with the water mains breaking and the other obstacles that we endured, I think we handled the storm well,” Mayor Christiansen said. “We’re going to have a meeting at the end of the week and see what we did good and what we need to improve on.

“But overall I think we did a great job.”

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