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Public Works Director: Pittsburgh is Prepared for Snow Storm

Western Pennsylvania is under a winter storm warning until 1 p.m. Wednesday, but new Pittsburgh Public Works Director Mike Gables isn’t worried.

He said he doesn’t believe the storm is going to be as bad as everyone thinks, but the city is ready either way.

“We’re prepared," Gable said. "We’ve got 60 vehicles ready; we’ve got more vehicles today than we had the other day. First Vehicle Service has been working well with us, getting more quota back to us so we can get more trucks out on the roads. We don’t see it as the long duration of the storm that has been predicted. Right now we’ve been feeling pretty comfortable that it’s a normal one to three inch storm, which we can handle very well.”

According to Gable, the weather service forecasted 44.5 inches of snow in Pittsburgh this winter, but the city has already had 42.5 inches.

Questions have been raised about a possible shortage of salt, but Gable said the city has 4,000 tons on hand.

“I’m not concerned right now with the salt supplies," Gable said. "We can only take what they’re going to give us. We can order a couple thousand tons. They’re going to give us about five to six hundred tons a day, but we’ll take it over the next few days and we’ll take it over Saturday and Sunday. We’ll work personnel to accept those shipments if the truckers are willing to deliver them on Saturday and Sunday.”

Gable said the city can only use as much salt as the suppliers provide, and they will be accepting shipments to get back to higher numbers in preparation for the storms.

He said rock salt is not magic and needs help from the weather, pedestrians and vehicles to melt snow.

“We also will add liquid calcium to rock salt to make it a little bit more effective,” Gable said. “Usually you do that when the temperatures are at like 20 degrees and falling.”

Teamsters local 249 president Joseph Rossi says the union reached a tentative agreement with Allegheny County and will not be going on strike Tuesday night.  Details of the contract are not being released.   Members will vote on the deal over the weekend.

Jess is from Elizabeth Borough, PA and is a junior at Duquesne University with a double major in journalism and public relations. She was named as a fellow in the WESA newsroom in May 2013.
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