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Boxing Day Blizzard Takes on Transportation Systems

Monday, December 27, 2010 - 01:10 PM

Plows and Salt Spreaders in New York City. (Submitted by WNYC listener.)

(Alex Goldmark, Transportation Nation) From the Carolinas up to Maine, severe winter weather shut down airports, slowed roads and stalled transit systems Sunday night and Monday morning.

All New York area airports were closed, as was Philadelphia International. Boston's Logan Airport remained open, but few flights left or landed. Amtrak canceled service from New York to Maine. Intercity bus service wasn't much better.

Local transit systems all along the east coast struggled to keep citizens moving, leaving a smattering of stalled buses and stuck taxis on city streets. There was one notable report of an A train stranded for six hours in New York with over 500 passengers on board after ice prevented the third rail from functioning properly.

To give you an idea of what it takes to keep the roads open after 20+ inches of snow, the New York City Sanitation Department dispatched 1600 plows (most affixed to garbage trucks as pictured above) and 365 salt spreaders with sanitation workers manning the machines on 12 hour split-shifts. Edward Yanis told WNYC from his plow that "it's a job that we have to do, you know, and I'm proud of doing it. We keep the city clean from the snow and that's a priority for us."

WNYC is also reporting the Department of Sanitation asked the public for help clearing snow and ice from New York City streets. The department hired licensed operators of heavy machinery with equipment including front end loaders, bobcats and excavators. The Department also put out a call for licensed operators of dump trucks, tractor trailers, and roll-on roll-off trucks. It takes a village to clear a metropolis in times of blizzard.

WNYC is collecting photos from around New York. Worth a few clicks if you want to see a bustling city coated in quiet white.

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