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City warns residents to be ‘patient” with snow and ice removal

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City resident Judy A. Cyrus regularly uses her motorized wheelchair to get around, but sidewalks buried under deep snow and ice have forced her to brave the city streets.

“It is dangerous for us and dangerous for the drivers – they can’t see us because we are so low and the snow banks are so high,” Ms. Cyrus said. “But we have no choice. The sidewalks have not been cleared for weeks.”

She said traveling the sidewalks in the city is usually an issue in the winter time.

“The sidewalks have not been cleared at Kinney Drugs on Canton Street for weeks,” she said. “I am not just concerned for myself, but there are some people who can’t travel without them (wheelchairs).”

Ogdensburg Department of Public Works Supervisor Greg E. Harland said heavy snow and ice accumulations have delayed sidewalk cleanup across the city, and the problem is not likely to go away any time soon.

“We are supposed to take care of our sidewalks, and property owners are supposed to take care of theirs,” Mr. Harland said. “The problem is this year the conditions are so bad our normal snowblowers can’t take it. With the ice storm, everything is frozen solid it is going to be hard getting the sidewalks clear. With such a thick layer of ice, we can’t put a dent in it.”

In the meantime, the city is first attacking priority areas such as fire hydrants, hospitals and schools. DPW crews are working through the night to cut down snow banks to improve visibility for drivers.

“Our snowblower is being repaired for curb cutting until the end of next week. For now, we can we can only chip away at it with front-end loaders, and that has to happen at night when the cars are off the street,” he said.

Mr. Harland said he isn’t concerned about the forecast of more snow.

“Snow isn’t the problem,” Mr. Harland said. “It’s the ice and the cold temperatures. If we get some kind of thaw, we can immediately clean them. But until then progress is going to be slow.”

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