DPW’s response to slick, dangerous morning commute: ‘We were taken off guard’

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Central Indiana residents were met with slick sidewalks and roads after heading out the door this morning, and many people pointed their finger at the Department of Public Works.

DPW Director Dan Parker tells us they “were taken off guard” by the forecast. DPW relies on a private company they hired to deliver the weather forecast. The forecast they were given said, “Air and pavement temperature will be above freezing, and no snow accumulation is expected.”

Parker said they’ve been a very reliable service provider, and this is just one time when unfortunately the information was wrong.

This means during overnight hours, DPW only had 12 trucks on the roads. “Had we know, we would have had a full crew available,” Parker said.

That means 80 trucks on the roadways, as opposed to 12.

Parker says they try not to prematurely call more drivers in because oftentimes the weather system passes and they have dozens of drivers sitting around with nothing to do. “That is all overtime money that the city has to pay for,” Parker said.

They realized the road conditions were not what they expected around 5 a.m. and that’s when they ordered a full call out.

Those trucks, however, were not able to get on the roads until about 7 a.m.

And we all know what the results were – numerous accidents and slideoffs during the morning commute. There were over 150 school delays and closures. IPS was on that list.

Many parents were furious with the school system because they announced a two-hour delay due to icy roads after many students were already on the bus. Ultimately, the schools that started after 8:15 a.m. closed, saying “Because roads are not expected to improve within the next several hours, IPS has moved from a 2-hour delay to a full closure for today.”

IPS issued the following statement:

"As IPS transportation routes began this morning, buses encountered unforecasted inclement weather conditions creating untimely and dangerous circumstances. As we were starting our second tier school routes, staff received reports that road conditions were deteriorating and unsafe. At that time, a decision was made not to disrupt routes already in progress. However, due to the unexpected glaze of ice on roads, schools on our second and third transportation tiers were moved to a 2-hour delay.

"After further monitoring road conditions, staff determined routes were still unsafe and were not expected to improve. As a result, a decision was made to close impacted schools for the day. We regret the inconvenience and confusion this has caused our families and employees as we worked to ensure the safety of all."


Parker assured everyone they will continue to provide the best service available throughout the remainder of winter, and they’ve already ordered an additional 8,000 tons of salt.