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Bitchy Blizzard Paralyzes City, Public Works Brings In Outside Contractors, Finch Urges Cooperation During Travel Ban, Calls In Guard, Issues Timeline

February 10th, 2013 · 50 Comments · Analysis and Comment, News and Events

truck Fairfield Avenue

This image taken 9 a.m. Sunday shows a Walgreen's truck stuck in the middle of Fairfield Avenue Downtown. Looks like the driver was trying to take a left onto Fairfield from Lafayette circle area shortly after midnight Sunday. Joseph's Steakhouse is in background.

UPDATE: List of passable streets released by mayor’s office, www.bridgeportct.gov/content/87201/137292.aspx. Mayor Bill Finch announced Sunday night:

– President Barack Obama declared Connecticut a disaster area today after a record-setting snowstorm wreaked havoc throughout the Northeast and dumped 30 inches of snow on Bridgeport in 24 hours.

“Due to the historic nature of this storm, we are asking for residents to please be patient while our crews work hard to clear the streets,” said Mayor Bill Finch. “We understand that this has been a very stressful time for many in our City, so we have laid out the following timeline for road clearing operations:

· Major roads are expected to be cleared by Tuesday or Wednesday;

· Secondary roads are expected to be cleared by Thursday or Friday; and,

· All remaining residential roads are expected to be cleared by Saturday or Sunday.

The state’s largest city is a mess, as folks try to dig their way out or in many instances are at the mercy of city crews trying to make progress. You know it’s bad when hospital areas weren’t passable Sunday morning. Some employees of Bridgeport Hospital were forced to walk miles to home. Mayor Bill Finch, who called on and is receiving clean-up help from the National Guard, announced Sunday, “A travel ban is still in effect in the City of Bridgeport and will be in effect until further notice. People must stay off the roads in the City to allow plow crews to do their work. We need everyone’s cooperation to get the streets clear. Please do not drive on City streets.”

National Guard blizzard

National Guard enters Downtown Sunday afternoon.

Cars throughout the city were abandoned by drivers. Numerous side streets are impassable with cars snowed under as the snow overwhelmed. Many folks are trapped inside their homes. The good news, President Obama has declared a disaster declaration for the state so municipalities can apply for storm cost reimbursement. Let us know what’s going on out there.

Sunday update from Mayor Bill Finch:

Following a record-setting snow storm that dumped 30 inches of snow on Bridgeport in 24 hours, Mayor Bill Finch today ordered a local travel ban into effect for all City streets, and has instructed police to ticket offenders. The travel ban will continue until further notice.

“While the Governor has lifted his travel ban, we are still working hard to clear main arteries and snow emergency streets leading to our hospitals and fire stations. We need drivers to stay off the roads and allow our snow plowing crews to do their work,” said Mayor Finch.

Public works crews, with the assistance of private contractors using bulldozers and payloaders, will work through the night to continue opening streets to allow first responders and public safety vehicles greater access.

The Snow Emergency Parking Ban remains in effect until further notice. Plow crews are concentrating on clearing major roads and snow emergency streets leading to hospitals, fire stations and other critical infrastructure areas. As those areas are cleared, crews will move on to secondary roads.

“We are asking everyone to have patience and to stay inside until snow plows can make their way down City streets,” said Mayor Finch.

According to Police Chief Joseph L. Gaudett Jr., those who do choose to venture out will be subject to fines and towing for attempting to travel on city streets that have not been cleared.

Mayor Finch put out a call to private contractors and to leaders in other towns, which were not hit as hard to assist the City with its snow removal efforts by sending heavy equipment and operators. Mayor Finch has also asked anyone who would like to volunteer the use of a snowmobile to assist first responders to call the City’s Emergency Operations Center at 203.579.3829.

Mayor Finch urged people to help their neighbors. “I’ve already heard stories of city residents bringing stranded people into their homes for shelter at the height of the storm,” he said. “This morning, emergency workers found a man collapsed in the snow and brought him into a nearby house as public works cleared a path for an AMR vehicle to get him to the hospital.”

“People only need to look out their windows to see the magnitude of this storm,” Finch said. “We have a plan in motion with realistic expectations, but digging out will take time. Be patient. Be kind to your neighbors.”

State Rep. Auden Grogins, trying to get answers about cleanup crews, posted this update on Facebook:

Hi Everyone- here is the am update.

Unfortunately it is not great news. I just got off the phone with our Public Works Director. He said that because this was a blizzard of epic proportions they had to reach out to outside contractors in other states for help. Bridgeport did not have enough heavy equipment available to handle this amount of snow. They have many outside contractors working now but they have run into other problems which have interfered with plowing. The first being people who have left cars in the street that needed to be towed and blocked the machinery. As a result, they had to hire towing firms to tow these cars away. This is an issue across the City apparently. Yesterday they had to assist ambulances and emergency issues. Later today they will be plowing main roads and then they will get to the side roads. He said they still cannot give me time estimates for our area. I will check in tonight for another update. I wish there was something more I could do or tell you but I can’t. I am home bound and going crazy like all of you.

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50 Comments so far ↓

  • Local Eyes

    RE: Bridgeport snowplows
    While some bloggers wait for the cavalry, others mount a white horse while leading a convoy of 10 Bridgeport snowplows determined to clean the streets of snow. Don’t be surprised if they “payload” the whole thing.

    < emGiddy-up!

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    The word “nemo” is Paugussett for “Do not pass go, do not collect $200.00. You are fucked now.”

  • Friends of John Iannuzzi

    Nice to hear from Rep Grogins above … anyone see or hear from Rep Santiago or Rep Ayala? South End is once again an afterthought. I just know in the pit of my stomach my neighbors and I are royally screwed this week. Worst part is, folks who don’t live here think we are exaggerating when we describe the level of ineptness. Streets will be cleared north, south, east and west of this fair city … before plow is put to pavement here!

  • Steven Auerbach

    It is a gorgeous Sunday morning in the North of of Bridgeport. The sun is shining and the birds are singing. Glendale Avenue is still not plowed. Four feet of drifts. Trapped, nowhere to go. OMG. Ran out of milk but have plenty of food and water. I hope my neighbors do also. I am about to shovel. If I meet my demise shoveling through this mess, may G-d bless all of you. Bridgeporters will forget this in about a week. NOT!!!

  • Joel Gonzalez

    Federal Emergency declared by Obama. Here comes the federal money for removal of downtown snow only, by private contractors. The rest of us can expect the same service we got during smaller storms.

  • Pat Fardy

    A state worker on my street was told if he could get to a state road which would be Huntington Turnpike they would pick him up for work. He started to use his personal snowblower to make it possible to get to that road. After about 3 houses from his, he had to quit, impossible, snow just too deep for just a snowblower.

    OK MAYOR FINCH AND PUBLIC WORKS, WHAT NOW? ANSWER PLEASE. I AM RUNNING OUT OF FOOD SUPPLIES AND THERE ARE NO GROCERY STORES IN THIS AREA. DO YOU ALSO MAKE FOOD DELIVERIES, WOULD THAT BE CONSIDERED AN EMERGENCY? :}

  • Antitestoo

    Susan Brannelly’s street was snowplowed out by 9:00am plus her driveway, then the city truck driver looked on his list of names and yelled “Mario’s” to Susan, off he went.

  • Zena Lu

    “Bitchy” he says? Try starting with a letter further down in the alphabet. I can hear the sounds of one neighbor cursing Finch with the fury of a thousand flaming Hells from her driveway and another neighbor just asked me for a loan. Oy.

  • Donnyboy

    What is wrong with you bunch of sniveling cry babies?!? There is THREE FEET OF SNOW OUTSIDE!!! You can’t get your fat ass to the store? TOUGH! No food in the fridge? TOUGH! Use your heads for God’s sake. The plows were stuck in the streets, there are abandoned cars everywhere, stop bitching and moaning and deal with it. Read a book and stop whining.

  • BlackRockGuy

    Heard on the radio a lady from B’port who works at a nursing home in Wilton was told she would be fired if she couldn’t make it to work on Monday …

  • Joel Gonzalez

    The big problem is the City equipment nor the equipment of the contractors are now the type needed to quickly remove the snow.
    Let me just give you a quick and easy example of the problem. The snow is at least 30 inches deep. if I use a 12-foot plow and drove a short distance of 3 feet, I’d have a load heavy enough to stop the truck if I took my foot off the gas.
    Bridgeport’s downtown streets are very small when compared to Stamford’s downtown. Bridgeport is an urban area and most car owners have no off-street parking. The City couldn’t tow cars left on the emergency snow routes if it wanted to. There are very few cars stuck in places where the plows can’t pass.

  • Joel Gonzalez

    Here I come guys, get your cars off the street now!
    farm3.staticflickr.com/2518/3926837345_bd2af9b1a1_z.jpg

  • Andrew C Fardy

    Even with all this bullshit going on we have the Finch administration hiring more politically connected people. The latest three are Shelton mayor Mark Lauretti’s son, Bob Curwen’s son and Willie Murphy’s girlfriend. And the game goes on and on.

  • Phil Smith

    If Public Works crews were, in fact, sent home Friday night someone should be fired. We need a Mayor who takes charge, not an apologist-in-chief.

  • Joel Gonzalez

    Would it make y’all feel better if I tell you Dan Malloy flew over us (in a helicopter) about 20 minutes ago?

  • ginboom

    Yesterday about 2 p.m. I finally saw a small plow come by my house. He got stuck for almost two hours. Back and forth, back and forth. He finally calls for help and it comes but that didn’t help. Neighbors finally had enough and everyone came out to help. Finally he was up and running. He was a private contractor. He called the city to come with sand to help him out and they never came. Today I took a walk up Main Street. Never seen anything like it. A tractor trailer stuck. Ambulances trying to get to the hospital with sirens on but going about 5 miles an hour because of all the joy riders. They plowed Fairview Avenue off Main but on the side where Advance Auto, they plow blocked it. Many people our there shoveling that intersection. One guy yells to another “hey go check on that guy, I think he fell.” The man had a heart attack.

  • Bridgeport Rising

    Fairfield Ave in Fairfield is smooth sailing, as soon as you get to BPT it is terrible.

    Whole Foods has milk and most grocery items in case that is walking distance to anyone. Home Depot (Fairfield) has rock salt as of 4pm but are running low.

  • barney

    Still not one plow on my street. Huntington turnpike is somewhat cleared. Some plow doing Huntington Turnpike left a wall of snow on my street. Thank goodness there has been no medical emergencies on my street. My neighbor just walked through the snow to make it out to Huntington Turnpike where someone picked him up to take him to work. We are 36-plus hours since the last snowflake fell. I don’t understand why more progress can’t be seen. There is no excuse.

  • Joel Gonzalez

    I’m not sure if this is true, but here is a comment on my fb page:

    Any person with a CDL The City OF Bridgeport will pay/train and put you in a city snow plow truck. Call 203-576-7124. Please share tweet and spread this information..

  • Ron Mackey

    A backhoe came through Seaside Village at 3:30 this afternoon just before my car was dug out.

  • Joel Gonzalez

    Here is a link to the OIB weather for the next few days:
    /www .weather.com/weather/right-now/Bridgeport+CT+06605

  • Steven Auerbach

    POOR Mayor Finch. If he were reading this blog which I am certain he is not, he may become suicidal. Does anybody honestly believe anyone could have done a better job? Be honest. I just did my driveway. ONLY 65 percent done. Glendale Ave still not plowed and I am as frustrated as my neighbors. I DO BELIEVE this was a monster and I do now believe people have not listened to the Governor and the Mayor.

    ABANDONED CARS ARE SLOWING THE PROCESS. This is a reminder to slow down and realize we are at the mercy of MOTHER nature. If there were a better way to respond to this storm, please respond on this blog and copy the Mayor’s office. I am sure the Mayor knows people are grading him on his ability to deal with this disaster. Maybe we should all just breathe and be patient. THERE ARE MORE IMPORTANT ISSUES. TONIGHT DOWNTON ABBY OR REVENGE OR THE GRAMMY AWARDS.

    5:35 pm Sunday. Glendale Avenue still not plowed. It is what it is. Considering Glendale is a main artery to Main St. from the condominiums and homes on Vincelette and Peet, it is scary they haven’t gotten here yet. I am sure they will. I believe the Public Works department is doing the best they can as they always do as they survive one administration after another.

    • Andrew C Fardy

      Steve, I am not looking for an argument but the city has not performed well during this storm. Do I expect every street to be clear of snow by now? No I don’t but I expect a better response. I don’t believe the city had a plan for storms of this size.
      Did they have a plan that did the following?
      1. After a certain amount of snow forecast or having fallen require workers to stay over until the storm ended?
      2. Were there enough workers to work 12-hour shifts? Was there an area where the employees could sleep and rest during their down time thus allowing 24 hours of plowing?
      3. Were extra police and fire people called in to help respond to emergencies?
      4. Were police cars equipped with chains?
      5. Did we mobilize all the local towing companies to tow stuck cars or cars illegally parked?
      These are just a few ideas from a non-professional. BTW the answer to these questions is NO.

      • Steven Auerbach

        ANDY, I CANNOT ARGUE. IT IS 12:50 Monday. No plowing here. Neighbors getting irate. I am still shoveling. A few neighbors trying to use their snowplows to do Glendale Ave. The Mayor will no doubt have to answer for this. Schools will be closed for two weeks. AND THE POPE IS SET TO RETIRE.

  • Joel Gonzalez

    Don’t blame the abandoned cars. Admit the city just wasn’t prepared for this. High-mileage trucks and small equipment just doesn’t work well with 30-plus inches of snow.

    One thing that hasn’t been mentioned is the fact the City of Bridgeport agreed to handle (take over) the maintenance of all our schools. Now the geniuses who made such a move realize they can’t handle the job. Bill Finch wanted the accountability and responsibility for our schools. Careful what you wish for.
    blog.ctnews.com/weather/2013/02/10/finch-no-school-or-clean-streets-until-friday/

  • Joel Gonzalez

    Can we blame both Mayor Bill Finch and Paul Vallas for this mess?
    www .ctpost.com/default/article/City-taking-over-school-facilities-safety-in-2683941.php

  • Black Rockin

    Regarding abandoned cars. What would happen if I left a red pickup truck on the street without any license plates for two months and then moved it to the sidewalk (blocking it) two weeks ago, again without plates and then parked my “Public Facilities Roadway Maintenance, City of Bridgeport” #321 Truck, a parked snow plow, as seen on a Facebook video today in front of a house on Woodland Ave. and Harborview Ave, on a unplowed street, where the described sidewalk parked, no license plates truck probably lives?
    My guess is I would be getting paid overtime for not plowing and forget about the unlicensed truck, I am too busy collecting overtime; probably having a tea and a laugh at the taxpaying SUCKER I am.

  • donj

    I hate to say this but Bridgeport sucks!!! I’m ready to move out of this city once and for all. No plows and no sign of them. What about people who have work, you are messing up their living.

    • Joel Gonzalez

      Hey donj! How you gonna leave town and leave us with all the people you supported all these years?
      If donj leaves Bridgeport, what other city would he like to live in? What about mom and dad? If the Jamaican Bobsled Team could win Olympic Medals, donj could make it to work. donj wasn’t around when we got hit with the Blizzard of ’78. I was 13 years old and throwing snowballs on cars driving down State Street with like 25 other kids all day long. The bumper ride from State Street and Fairfield Avenue to the train station was a blast. Then you had to walk back.

    • Local Eyes

      donj suffers from misplaced anger. If he thinks it sucks, he calls it Bridgeport but when he calls it home, it’s called Black Rock.

  • Ron Mackey

    Finch: No school or clean streets until Friday

    February 10, 2013 at 4:51 pm by Keila Torres Ocasio

    BRIDGEPORT — Mayor Bill Finch said he doesn’t expect to have all city streets cleared of snow until Friday, or maybe even later. Because of this, the mayor said he doubts the city can reopen many schools until late in the week.

    “It’s going to take us a week to get all the streets cleaned,” said Finch, who was at the city’s Emergency Operations Center Sunday afternoon. “By Tuesday, the latest Wednesday, we’ll get the main streets and snow emergency streets.”

    Secondary streets will follow and then the city will tackle small residential streets, cul-de-sacs and dead-end streets.

    Finch said one of the biggest problems has been the large number of abandoned cars blocking city streets and forcing plows to waste time backing up out of a street. “They’ve reduced our efficiency by 40 to 50 percent or more,” the mayor said. When cars are following the plow it’s even worse, the mayor said. Then police have to be called in to back everyone out safely so the plow can go on its way.

  • Pat Fardy

    It is now Monday and freezing rain has started and snow has not been plowed as yet on my street. We did have a city truck make one swipe which just made things worse. We hired a private plow driver to remove some snow from our driveway so we can go out. But to WHERE???
    ALL OF the stores in this area are closed.
    What to do!, What to do!!!
    Complaining doesn’t help.
    City doesn’t listen
    Mayor doesn’t listen
    Gov. doesn’t listen

  • Jennifer Buchanan

    First step to solve this–send an email today to support Jack’s bill–we can start to clean house in November with your support!
    Send email testimony today to

    Jack.Hennessy@cga.ct.gov

    Peter.Murszewski@cga.ct.gov

    Subject line of the email – Written testimony for Bill HB-5724 – Public Hearing 2/13/13

    Body of letter -

    To: Steve Cassano, Jason Rojas and the Planning and Development Committee:

    Please consider and enter this as my written testimony for HB-5724

    And give them what for with your own reasons!

  • BlackRockGuy

    The terrible job the Finch administration has done in getting the streets plowed is no doubt a big reason why businesses leave and new ones don’t replace them. Call City Hall today and demand Finch resign.

  • Zena Lu

    New Haven and Hartford seem to be doing just fine. New Haven got more snow than we did, and parts of Hartford did as well. Are we to assume Bridgeport is the only city in CT that experienced abandoned vehicles? Feeble excuse which does not have a shelf life of 3 minutes let alone 3 days. Way to go Mayor! You have once again insulted the collective intelligence of the citizens you are being paid to serve.

  • Bridgeporteur

    Finch is incapable of implementing anything. Nothing he has ever engaged in has ever gotten done. He is very bad for Bridgeport and more and more folks are starting to finally realize this. Three more years of this! Hang in there Bridgeport. We are in for a rough ride. We are having a rough ride. Get out and vote next time. Things will not change with the Democratic Town Committee as it stands, having control, in place.

  • lisalake

    An obvious and well-coordinated effort on the part of the governor and some of CT’s mayors to ensure federal disaster money. What other explanation can there be for such incompetence … and then to turn around and blame the citizens … no plowing in BPT for the entire storm … no preparation whatsoever … unheard of. Mayor Finch putting Bridgeport citizens at risk. Appalling.

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