Indianapolis elects not to call in contractors for neighborhood streets

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INDIANAPOLIS – The National Weather Service says Indianapolis received 9 inches of snow between Sunday night and Monday morning.

But despite the historic snowfall amount, the Indianapolis Department of Public Works decided not to call in 60 contract drivers to plow neighborhood streets.

“We have a different kind of snowstorm,” said DPW spokeswoman Stephanie Sample. “The kind that we haven’t seen in more than 100 years. So we sat down, took a look at it and adjusted our strategy accordingly.”

Since 2008, the city has held to a policy that says any snowfall event that brings 6 inches or more would trigger plow drivers for residential streets.

Any less than that, and the city’s 90 trucks would stick to main and secondary streets. Those main streets make up about 6,000 lane miles which are plowed. Adding residential streets would add 4,000 more miles.

Sample said the timing and conditions prompted the decision to not call in the extra help.

City observers believe the ground temperature is warm enough to melt the snow quickly—possibly within the next 48 hours.

By not calling in the contractors, the city could be saving about $400,000. Indy had already spent $4.8 million on snow removal this season before this latest storm.

Out in the neighborhoods, reaction to the decision was mixed—with some glad to hear the city was saving money.

“It’s going to be gone in a couple days, so makes no sense to make a big fuss about it,” said near east side resident Larry Guy.

Others wished the city would spend the money to clear the streets.

“I think it’s worth it to have it be cleared off,” said Charlotte White, pastor at the Universal Apostolic Free Church of God. “I’m sure the neighbors over here would appreciate it and we definitely would appreciate it.”

Others weren’t convinced the snow would melt off so quickly.

“At night, it’s going to freeze again,” said east side resident Ryan Ebler. “I’ve been paying attention for the last couple nights and everything has been freezing.”

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