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December 24, 2013

City crews work to clear streets blocked by ice-storm debris

NORMAN — Norman city crews have been working around the clock since Friday and through the weekend to clear streets. Clocking in for alternating 12-hour shifts, the city teams were on-call and on the road 24 hours a day.

“Crews are responding to calls and also checking locations throughout the entire city getting the limbs pushed off the roadway currently to keep travel lanes open,” Greg Hall, Superintendent of Streets, said Monday afternoon.

The Streets Division and Parks Maintenance crews both pulled the icy weather duty.

“Right now our main goal is just to get the roads open,” Hall said. “There are a number of low hanging trees and limbs, many of them which will rebound. Cutting them would create additional damage.”

With temperatures on the rise over the next couple of days, city officials are hoping many trees and bushes will recover on their own, but trees with damage will be trimmed and eventually removed.

“A number of trees have been identified with broken limbs that are up in the trees and are hanging,” Hall said. “Our debris contractor, TFR Enterprises, will start cutting the limbs that are low hanging and broken on Friday.”

Pickup of debris will begin Jan. 2, Hall said. Cleanup of city parks will have to wait until roads are clear.

“We’ve been mainly making sure the streets are open for traffic,” Parks Superintendent Bill Ulch said. “We have been using some chainsaws and clearing the way so traffic can get through.”

Ulch said streets take priority and then other areas are cleared.

“We work on areas like the senior citizens so they can get in and also the rec centers so they can get in and have events,” Ulch said.

He said city parks have sustained “quite a bit of damage.” In particular, Earl Sneed Park in the Miller Historic District had a lot of damage, Ulch said.

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