A plow truck works to clear and salt Northville Road during the early part of the snowstorm Sunday afternoon in Plymouth. (Bryan Mitchell / Special to The Detroit News)
Metro Detroit road commissions said Sunday they were keeping the streets cleared even though they were surprised by the more-robust-than-expected beginning of the snowstorm Saturday night.
They just hope they can say the same for the morning commute Monday.
With the brunt of the storm coming in Sunday afternoon and evening, the Road Commission for Oakland County was saving some of its trucks and plows for Sunday night.
“If it’s (snowfall) real heavy this evening, I’m worried about the morning rush hour,” said commission spokesman Craig Bryson.
The storm, which is expected to drop up to 10 inches of snow, was supposed to start light and grow heavier during the day Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. But several parts of Oakland County had 4 inches of snow by 6 a.m. Sunday, Bryson said.
The county, which deployed half of its fleet of 106 trucks Saturday at 9:30 p.m., was keeping streets drivable, he said.
Other counties said they were keeping ahead of the weather as well Sunday and were hoping for the best Monday morning.
Wayne County dispatched 100 trucks at 4:30 a.m. Sunday to plow and salt roads, said Cindy Nocerini Dingell, deputy chief operating officer of the county Department of Public Services.
Crews have been working nearly nonstop since New Year’s Day and reported seeing asphalt on highways and primary roads, she said.
Detroit has used 41 plows since 11 p.m. Saturday to clear snow along the city’s 660 miles of major roads, Mayor Mike Duggan said in a Sunday statement. If the snowfall reaches 6 inches, the city will declare a snow emergency, which would require residents to remove their vehicles from the streets so the city can plow the city’s 1,880 miles of side streets, he said.
Not everyone in Metro Detroit is happy about snow removal.
David Morin, who lives on Michigan Avenue in downtown Pontiac, said he is still waiting for the streets to be plowed from last week’s storm.
A snow-removal contractor used by the financially ailing city rarely comes around, he said.
“This is just terrible,” said Morin, 54, a self-employed commercial painter. “Our streets are just buried.”
He said three cars got stuck at a nearby intersection Sunday. He had to use his snow blower to clear a spot just to park his car.
Morin said he spent most of Sunday helping friends clear the streets around their homes.
“I’ve been scrambling all day,” he said.
Many Metro cities, including Garden City, Hazel Park, Eastpointe and Warren, declared snow emergencies that asked residents to remove their vehicles from the street to help crews remove snow.
In the case of Warren, “Snow removal crews are still clearing roads from the last snowstorms,” according to a statement issued Friday.
An issue that concerns Oakland County’s Bryson is residents and businesses dumping snow from their yards and lots onto the street. It’s a problem whenever a significant amount of snow falls, he said, and it happened several times Sunday.
Such actions, which are illegal, create safety hazards by blocking drivers’ vision and slow the work of plows by forcing them to replow the streets.
All the snow last week and now Sunday also has county road commissions thinking about their budgets.
Having the snowfall on a weekend is both good and bad, Dingell said.
It’s beneficial because few people are working, so there’s less traffic. It’s bad, she said, because county workers are paid overtime on the weekend.
As long as the rest of the season isn’t full of snow, the county budget should be OK, Dingell said.
Even with the extra cost, clearing the streets is too important to put off, she said.
“We will do what we need to do,” Dingell said.