Chorus of complaints over lack of plowing; Milwaukee DPW grades its effort a “C”

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The cleanup continues after a winter storm dumped a foot of snow in Milwaukee and on Monday afternoon, February 2nd, the City of Milwaukee's Department of Public Works updated the media as to how that cleanup is going. This, as some are expressing their displeasure with the city's plowing efforts.

The snow began to fall on Saturday night, January 31st and continued into Sunday night, January 1st. Strong winds led to blowing and drifting -- which made it a snowfall that was difficult to keep up with when it came to shoveling and snowblowing.

The work was more than Roemel Moore expected when he offered to help a friend dig out on Monday.

"Man! I sat in the truck for a minute and just looked and though 'aw naw.' You gotta work your way down on this," Moore said.

On Monday, Moore stood near 20th and Stark where he explained he didn't anticipate spending so much time shoveling the street. He says disappointed with the city's plowing efforts.

"It's pretty bad for right now. It could've been a little bit better," Moore said.

Moore was part of a chorus of complaints regarding Milwaukee DPW's snow removal efforts.

"I would give us probably a C based on -- we probably could've called in a lot more equipment on Sunday," Milwaukee DPW Sanitation Services Manager Wanda Booker said.

Booker says based on Friday's forecast city leaders thought they were in pretty good shape to handle the storm. At the height of the storm, there were 252 pieces of equipment on the roads -- the most concentrating on main streets.

"This epic snowstorm that we had over the weekend certainly turned out to be a lot more than we were anticipating," Booker said.

Still, Booker says nearly 97% of the city's main thoroughfares and some 70% of the side streets were plowed by Monday afternoon curb-to-curb, but the cleanup continues.

"We let the drivers go home so that they can get a shift of sleep. They`ll be coming back in at midnight, and we`ll be plowing throughout the night, and by the time people get up in the morning, most streets should have been addressed. There is a lot of cleanup for us to do yet," Booker said.

We're told at midnight, there will be a full staff of 90 plows and 90 garbage trucks fitted with plows on the street.

Booker says typically, it takes city crews 18 to 24 hours to finish cleanup after a snow event. She anticipates achieving that status by the morning rush hour Tuesday.

“Normally, a full-scale plowing operation costs us in excess of a million dollars.  We won’t know the full tally until this is all said and done," Booker said.

That cost is paid for by taxpayers, via a "snow and ice fee" on water bills.

"I'm definitely going to be holding the people that I know, that I'm voting for accountable for their actions," Milwaukee resident Eddie Smith said.

The snow emergency and Four-Inch Rule remain in effect through Tuesday, February 3rd and Wednesday, February 4th to allow for continued snow cleanup.

DPW officials have also planned an overnight snow removal operation in the 5-Day Parking Exception Area on Tuesday and Wednesday.

All residents in this area must move their vehicles to the correct side of the street by 2:00 a.m. on Tuesday, February 3rd (even numbered side of the street). This will help ensure that DPW crews can access as much of the street pavement as possible to remove ice and snow effectively, efficiently, and most importantly, safely.

Once the area streets have been plowed, DPW will notify residents again that the operation has concluded and overnight parking is once again permitted on both sides of the street, until the next operation is called.

Residents are reminded to read the street signs on their block and in their neighborhoods for winter parking instructions. The posted street sign takes precedence in all areas of the city.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the City of Milwaukee DPW's snow plowing efforts.


  • ILuvScooter

    The Eastside and Downtown were terrible. Going up Wells at 9:30am was a challenge, just not acceptable.

  • lone ranger

    We need a small business owner to come in and run the city DPW the waist the inefficiency is unbelievable! No excuse at all for the horrible job plowing the city of Milwaukee streets

  • R

    “January 31st and continued into Sunday night, January 1st”

    Anyone want to guess what’s wrong with this sentence?

  • JC

    I drove from Waukesha to Milwaukee, this morning and you could tell where the county line was. What a joke of a city and the leadership can’t get the roads cleared off but willing to fight tooth and nail for a train.

  • dancing in the ruins

    who needs plowed roads when barrett’s trolley will take everyone everywhere they want go in any kind of weather!!!

  • Brad Yates

    If we don’t pay our taxes on time they penalize us, why can’t we penalize them if they can’t do their part on time?

  • Michael

    This is Tom Barretts Milwaukee. Now imagine will you. Tom Barretts street car running on a day like this? LOL. When Demorat’s run things, everyone else has to pay for their screw up’s. The Demorat response? We didn’t know this would happen. Even though we were warned. A YUK, YUK!

  • Fancy

    Manager Wanda Booker should be fired. She always has an excuse for the unacceptable snow plowing. This was forecasted as a major storm lady get off your butt and do your job!

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