ABANDONED VEHICLES A ‘SEVERE’ PROBLEM

bridge-blockAmong the three vehicles left abandoned on the Red Bank end of the Cooper Bridge were these two, still there at 9:30a Monday. Below, a motorist left a car at West Front Street and Riverside Avenue. (Click to enlarge)

riverside-block

Officials in Red Bank and nearby towns are asking motorists to stay off the streets while plow crews dig out from the blizzard that socked the region with at least two feet of snow Sunday and early Monday.

Abandoned vehicles and pedestrians walking in streets slowed the start of snow removal efforts, Red Bank officials say. Now, cars mired in deep drifts continue to hamper plowing.

“It’s a severe problem,” said Gary Watson, who heads up the borough’s public utilities department.

Numerous cars left stuck at intersections could still be found at daylight Monday, including three caught in deep snow on Bridge Avenue at the foot of the Cooper Bridge.

“We’re working on getting towtrucks out,” police Captain Darren McConnell told redbankgreen. “They’ve become a hinderance to the plows.”

plow-stuckA municipal plow got stuck on Mechanic Street at Spring Street at about 10:15a Monday. (Click to enlarge)

Citing the state of emergency declared by acting Governor Stephen Sweeney, Fair Haven police Chief Darryl Breckenridge is reminding motorists that non-essential vehicles are not permitted on roadways.

In Red Bank, too many drivers “didn’t heed the media warnings” and wound up getting stuck in deep snow, said Watson. redbankgreen saw abandoned vehicles in every neighborhood over the course of a walk around the perimeter of town Monday morning.

Pedestrians walking in the street were a serious impediment to the start of the plowing overnight, Watson said.

“Our guys couldn’t see them because of the white-out conditions,” he said. “So they had to go slower or come to a stop. That’s when you lose momentum and get stuck.”

Watson says plows are having difficulty navigating not only an obstacle course of cars left on the street, but the snow itself.

“They’ve been getting stuck all night,” Watson said. To those who might wonder why vehicles built for storms might get stuck, Watson says, “There’s a snowstorm, and then there’s a blizzard. It’s not just our trucks. County and state plows are getting stuck, too.”

Watson says the plowing priority is to get the main arteries such as Leighton Avenue, Bridge Street, West Front, Bergen Place/Drs. Parker Boulevard, Broad and Spring Streets passable, an effort he expects to take until Monday evening.

The smaller residential streets won’t be tackled until Monday night at the earliest in what Watson believes will be a several-day effort.

As of noon, though, Watson said he hadn’t received a single complaint about lack of plowing.

“Obviously, people understand what’s going on,” he said. “They see us out there. It’s not rocket science.”