The past five days of nearly non-stop snow may end up costing Evanston tax payers as much or more to clean up as the blizzard of 2011.

After the early February 2011 storm, city officials estimated they’d spent $354,000 on staff overtime and cleanup materials.

Public Works Director Suzette Robinson today says the new storm, that started New Year’s Eve, has been more challenging than the blizzard because it’s kept crews moving snow around for several days — and piled up roughly as much snow as the blizzard dropped in just a day-and-a-half.

Robinson said the city has faced a few challenges getting salt deliveries. “We’re still in pretty good shape to get through the storm,” Robinson said, “but we have a backlog of orders to get the salt dome filled again so we’re ready for the next snow event.”

She added Evanston is in better shape than many other suburbs, because it has crews on duty at the Municipal Service Center, where the salt dome is located, 24 hours a day and can receive deliveries of salt during the overnight hours.

Robinson said the city likely used more salt this time than for the blizzard because of the much longer duration of the storm, but it’s also used more liquid chemicals for deicing, with new trucks equipped to dispense them, and that reduces the amount of salt needed.

In addition, Robinson said, the city has not had to do as much towing of cars this time, and that’s reduced police overtime associated with the storm.

She said she hopes to have figures on the costs ready for next week’s City Council meeting.

Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl said she’s gotten more compliments than complaints about how the snow cleanup effort has gone, and said one caller urged her to tell workers that “everyone’s doing a great job.”

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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1 Comment

  1. Hope this is not 1979 again

    In January 1979, the only times that the temperature was in the 20's it was snowing. We had about 70 inches of snow that month and about 6 days that hit about -20 with one day at -26. A lot of this weather continued into most of February. The official snow fall for the winter was about 90 inches with Evanston at about 105 with the lake snow. The average temperature for the month was 6.

    In the Chicago area, hundreds of roofs collapsed, mostly in buildings with flat roofs.

    In Evanston, many cars and some buses were buried in drifting snow. It took a week to clear main streets and much longer to get the side streets. Evanston brought in heavy construction equipment to clear the main streets. There were tracters with 8 foot tires and many over sized dump trucks. They moved the snow from the streets to the parks creating huge ice mountains. I do know that it took 1 1/2 days to clear Oakton St. from Dodge to Asbury Ave.

    Let's hope that 2014 does not mimic 1979.

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