Snowstorm buried basic services

Trash, postal and airport providers work to get caught up

Crews plow snow Thursday from the area where planes are usually parked at Jefferson City Memorial Airport. The airport opened at about 1:15 p.m. Thursday after snow removal teams had put in more than 30 hours to clear the runways.

Crews plow snow Thursday from the area where planes are usually parked at Jefferson City Memorial Airport. The airport opened at about 1:15 p.m. Thursday after snow removal teams had put in more than 30 hours to clear the runways. Photo by Kelley McCall.

While forecasters aren’t predicting another record snow event, they do say there doesn’t look to be much relief from the winter weather in the near future.

Officials at the National Weather Service in St. Louis said the high in Jefferson City today should be in the mid-20s. While there are slight chances for snow tonight and on Sunday or Monday, the systems don’t look big. If anything, forecasters expect only minor accumulations.

With any luck, highs in the mid-30s are in the forecast this weekend, but it will be turning colder at the start of the next work week.

As weather forecasts turn considerably more manageable, Jefferson City residents’ thoughts turn more to the services they depend upon on a normal basis.

Trash collections

“Come live in my world for a few days,” said Allied Waste General Manager Rick Graham.

After Allied was closed Tuesday and Wednesday, the company’s trash trucks did start to hit some areas Thursday. Graham said it took all day Wednesday just to get the landfill opened up and trucks started, but they couldn’t go out until the roads improved.

Tuesday and Wednesday routes missed will be picked up on their

regularly scheduled pickup days, Feb. 8 and Feb. 9. Any extra trash should be placed adjacent to the cart.

“We did try to pick some up in residential areas Thursday with not a lot of luck,” he said. “Next week, we hope to get back on schedule. The main roads are good, but the side roads are just one lane. We can’t see the carts, but we’re trying to get what we can. The rural county stuff we’ll try to get to next week. There’s just no way to make back up those days we were out of service.”

Graham also asked, “If you do get out, please get the snow out in front of the areas where you leave your trash. At commercial places, the snow plows have put the snow in front of dumpsters so we can’t get in.”

“This is really rough,” Graham added. “We know people want trash picked up, and we apologize. With the snow and sub-zero temps, we got caught in the middle. We don’t want to get anybody hurt.”

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Mail deliveries

For postal workers, Thursday was a bit better than Wednesday.

“We didn’t get much mail from the processing center in Columbia,” said Postmaster Don Knoth. “That’ll probably change (today) and the days after that because we’ll be getting all the mail that backed up from earlier this week.”

“We’ve had to shuffle people around to get things done and that will be that way for a while,” Knoth added. “This is going to be a challenge until the temperatures go up and the roads and the areas around the mailboxes can be cleared. We’ll be giving it our best effort.”

Airport operations

Think shoveling your driveway was a chore?

Workers at the Jefferson City Memorial Airport were trying to clear snow from 53 acres so that the airport could reopen Thursday.

Airport Manager Ron Craft said that by 1:15 p.m., they cleared the areas needed to open the airport, including the main runway. By 4 p.m., about 10 flights had either landed or taken off, he said. They were the first flights since Monday night or Tuesday morning.

“We’re getting there,” Craft said, adding that although the airport was closed until Thursday afternoon, landing pads were cleared earlier for Missouri Highway Patrol and Missouri National Guard helicopter flights.

The airport’s normal staff of three was boosted to 10 for snow-removal efforts, including a few workers on loan from the city and private contractors from Twehous Excavating Co.

They’ve attacked the snow with a combination of plow trucks, motor graders, front loaders and two John Deere tractors that they normally use to mow grass.

“It’s been some long hours, but we’ve all been able to get home for a little amount of time and get some rest,” Craft said. “All and all, we’re holding up pretty well.”

He said the airport has to follow stringent guidelines regarding snow removal that include plowing “as close to bare pavement as possible,” then treating the pavement with chemicals.

The airport is divided into three priorities for snow removal, Craft said. Now that priority 1 has been cleared, workers will continue to work on the other two priority areas.

The airport averages 80 flights daily between take-offs and landings, he said.


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