Omaha snowplow crews to work nonstop until Thursday
Drivers will work 12-hour shifts to clear city streets
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Several inches of snowfall around the Metro on Tuesday have made for some difficult travel conditions and prompted the city to cut bus service off until road conditions improve as snow crews made their way into neighborhoods.
City crews had been treating and clearing major roadways since Monday trying to stay ahead of Tuesday’s snowfall; but into the evening, there was still plenty of snow to clear in neighborhoods and even some on main commuter streets.
Omaha’s City Engineer said road crews would continue working on roads nonstop overnight, putting snowplow drivers on 12-hour shifts until Thursday.
Residential roads were so bad, some firefighters had trouble getting to a house fire Tuesday night near 60th and Ames that left 12 people trying to figure out where would spend the night. Firefighters haven’t figured out what caused the fire at a home on Browne Street.
Neighbors in the area told 6 News that the incline on that street had been a trouble spot for drivers all day Tuesday.
“The streets aren’t really clear. People driving down here almost hit the light pole. I mean it’s not really a good scene right now, and with the fire, there’s water in the streets, and it’ll be nothing but ice in the morning,” neighbor Laquita Johnson said.
Omaha Battalion Fire Chief Mike Pritchard said some of his team struggled to drive through snowy hills even with chained tires.
“Our biggest issue was getting here physically through the snow,” he said. “A lot of the streets aren’t plowed, so it’s better to get the fire trucks up here, and it delayed our oncoming unit. So initially, we had a batch of firefighters here, but then we had to wait a little bit longer for the other ones to arrive.”
Metro Transit issued a press release Tuesday afternoon stating that all bus, ORBT, and MOBY services would be suspended in the evening “due to inclement weather and hazardous road conditions.” MOBY services were to end at 6 p.m.; bus and ORBT services would consolidate at 8:30 p.m., with buses ending services and heading back to the city garage at 10 p.m.
Bracing for the storm, several cities around the Metro area declared snow emergencies Monday, and more joined the list Tuesday morning — including Fremont, Ralston, Papillion, Eagle, as well as Council Bluffs and all of Pottawattamie County in Iowa — as crews worked to keep major arteries passable ahead of several more inches of predicted snowfall.
Visibility was greatly impacted in the area as the worst of the storm descended on the city.
Omaha public libraries, city parks department and recreation facilities, and most community centers were also closed, with the exception of Common Ground in Elkhorn.
The storm also impacted Test Nebraska sites. The state Department of Health & Human Services encouraged those with testing scheduled to regularly check texts or emails for updates.
Snow continued to pile up over the lunch hour.
The bulk of the snow moved out of the Omaha-metro area late Tuesday afternoon.
At 5 p.m., NSP reported road surfaces had “transitioned from snow-packed to wet & slushy.”
Road crews were making their way into neighborhoods Tuesday evening.
Elsewhere in Nebraska
Travel around the Metro and beyond has been impacted much of the morning, with Nebraska State Patrol encouraging extra caution on Interstate 80 — and advising people to just stay home if possible.
Just outside the city around 11 a.m., drivers were urged to avoid Highway 36 near Bennington Road as a jack-knifed semi shut down westbound lanes, with eastbound travel moving slowly.
The storm impacted travel across the state as it moved east overnight, shutting down Interstate 80 early Tuesday from the Wyoming state line to mile marker 107 near Big Springs and to Ogallala as the morning snow wore on.
Interstate 76 and Highway 30 were also closed, with all those roadways reopening around 10:45 a.m.
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