With the storm approaching, Mayor Bloomberg said the good news is that so far this winter, the city has not touched any of the money in its snow removal budget.
“The better news is that if it’s going to happen, overnight Friday into Saturday is probably as good timing as we could have because the sanitation department then has the advantage of being able to clean the streets when there’s normally less traffic,” the mayor told reporters including WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb.
Bloomberg said sanitation workers will be working around the clock to clear the city’s 6,300 miles of streets.
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The public will be able to see where plows have been using the city’s plow-tracker system which was created following the 2011 Christmas snowstorm.
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Alternate side parking regulations will be suspended Friday. The Queens Midtown Tunnel closure planned for this weekend has been canceled because of the approaching storm, the Metropolitan Transit Authority said.
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New York State officials are bracing for the storm and warn winds could howl up to 60 miles per hour.
“This is a dangerous storm with a lot of blowing snow and very significant winds that will make travel on Friday night into Saturday morning almost impossible,” said New York State Commissioner of Emergency Services Jerry Hauer.
Officials said city subways and buses will be running
“But as you approach the teeth of the storm that’s when you are worried about getting equipment stranded and people stranded on that equipment,” MTA interim chief Tom Prendergast told reporters including WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond.
Hauer said residents in Sandy-stricken areas should prepare for tidal flooding.
The Port Authority said it is deploying extra personnel throughout its facilities.
NJ TRANSIT will offer full system wide cross-honoring on Friday and Saturday enabling customers to give customers additional travel options.
“NJ TRANSIT has actually been preparing for more than two days for this storm, extensive preparations, watching the weather models. We obviously see the changes and have been planning accordingly,” NJ TRANSIT spokesman John Durso, Jr. told WCBS 880.
The Department of Buildings called on property owners and contractors to secure their buildings and sites ahead of the storm, which is expected to pack wind gusts of up to 60 mph. Loose material, tools, debris needs to be secured, and crane operations need to be suspended and cranes secured when gusts hit 30 mph.
From snow blowers, to shovels, to big bags of snow-melt, people across the Tri-State were stocking up ahead of the storm, CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown reported.
“When the weather gets bad you can’t drive so you might as well do it now,” said Mario Betancourt of Union City.
“I think it’s going to be a light winter myself, but it’s always better to be prepared,” said Raymond Mezer of North Arlington.
Storm weary Long Islanders still feeling the effects from Sandy are bracing for the worst, stocking up at a Stop and Shop supermarket in Woodbury for another punch from Mother Nature.
“They’re stocking up on the staple items like bread, milk and eggs just to keep some backup in case they’re stuck in the house for a couple of days,” manager Mike Kramer said.
In Hackensack, crews are busy cooking up hundreds of thousands of gallons of salt brine. They’ve already started spreading it on the streets.
“It coats the road, creates a light film and it starts snowing nothing sticks to the road,” explained Tony Sedita of the Hackensack Department of Public Works.
Salt brine isn’t a new solution, but it’s becoming a more popular one. Local governments say it can save up to 30 percent on snow removal costs. Crews can start laying it down well ahead of the storm, and once the snow starts, the brine melts about 2 inches per hour. That makes the job much quicker for plow crews, and the roads safer for drivers.
“We pretreat our sidewalks and streets with a mixture of salt brine and calcium chloride,” said Joe Crifasi, Bergen County Director of Public Works and General Services.
Out on Long Island’s east end, where a foot of snow could fall, county and local officials are geared up and ready to go. Sand trucks are filled, gassed up, and their plows are ready to roll.