Hannibal businesswoman complains to council about snow mounds blocking storefronts

Posted: Mar. 5, 2013 11:38 pm Updated: Mar. 27, 2013 12:15 am

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

HANNIBAL, Mo. -- One business person is upset with the way the Hannibal Street Department has cleared recent snow from the streets.

Cindy Benjamin, owner of B&B Cut and Style at 211 Broadway, addressed the City Council on Tuesday with her concerns about plowed snow blocking storefronts and driveways.

Benjamin said her storefront was inaccessible unless customers parked their cars, turned on their hazard lights and climbed over a mound of snow to reach the sidewalk. She asked the council why the plows had pushed the snow to the curb when traditionally the street crews created a mound of snow down the center of the street.

City Manager Jeff LaGarce noted that the city received 12.5 inches of snow Feb. 21 and snow has fallen every day except two since, so street crews have had a hard time clearing mounds of snow left after initial plowing.

LaGarce explained that plowing the first 7 inches that fell on Hannibal on Feb. 21 would have amounted to a 4-foot mound in the center of the street. As the snow progressed, the mound would have been unstable and the street would have been impassible, he said.

"There's no place for them to put it," LaGarce said. "On most snows we will plow to the center."

LaGarce also said the city wants to test a new plan for plowing that might resolve the situation.

"We'd like to pilot it with a normal snow and not a 12-inch snow," LaGarce said.

Benjamin also explained that she and other shop owners had to shovel areas repeatedly as plows continued to remove the snow lining the downtown area.

"We're having to deal with the snow way too many times," Benjamin said.

Councilman Kevin Knickerbocker said that in extreme weather, the entire city is inconvenienced. The Street Department has to plow the entire city, not just the downtown area, Knickerbocker said, and clearing each driveway and storefront would delay the entire process.

LaGarce also formally thanked the Street and Parks departments for their ongoing efforts with snow management. He said the plows have cleared the streets 10 to 12 times in the past two weeks. Even after streets became passable, daily traffic forced the crews to work nights to clean up the downtown area.

"These guys haven't slept much in the last 12 days," LaGarce said. "It's amazing what they do."