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City Unveils Snow Plow Tracker Website

December was “pretty quiet,” but January is proving to be a “little more complicated” in treating Pittsburgh’s streets, said city Public Works Director Mike Gable.

“Every event is a different coordination of how many people you need and what we need to do and when you need to start, he said. "I’ve been very happy with what our crews have performed up to this date.”

So when the next snowfall hits, do you want to know when your city street might be salted and plowed?

Gable said a snow plow tracker website is being unveiled today. 

“The public’s going to see information where a truck has been in terms of treating of a road," Gable said. "They can click on a route or an icon and see when the last time the vehicle actually moved or what time that street was treated.”

The city has been using the system internally since 2010. 

“We’re able to derive a number of reports off there that the public doesn’t see," Gable said. "There’s reports that we’ll use to manage the crews in terms of their effectiveness. It’s going to bring up a map of Pittsburgh and all the street system, and they’re going to see when the streets were done and what’s coming down the pike.”

According to Gable, the city is looking at adding software to more efficiently deploy equipment. 

“I  know our [plowing] routes aren’t as effective as they need to be," he said. "We are living with the routes that have been established for us. But we do have every street under some route. We went through that due diligence this past summer; there were a number of streets that were missing off of routes. We have added them to existing routes.  The next step is to make those routes more efficient, an that’s what we’re working on now ‘route smart.’”

He added that most of the streets that were not on routes — about 15 or 20 — are dead end streets, “but those 15 or 20 are just as important as all the rest.”

According to Gable, his department’s equipment is in good shape. 

“We’ve been able to maintain at least 90 percent of our fleet, working with our contractor down at the garage," he said. "Considering the weather we’ve had, I’m surprised we haven’t lost more vehicles.”

Kevin Gavin is the host of WESA's news interview program "The Confluence." He is a native Pittsburgher and served as news director for 90.5 WDUQ for 34 years. Since the sale of the radio station by Duquesne University to Pittsburgh EPM, Inc. (now Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting Corp.), he served as Executive Producer of Special News Projects prior to being named as host of "The Confluence" five years ago. kgavin@wesa.fm