EAST ORANGE, NJ - As the Northeast Region braced itself for the potential of a predicted “historic” blizzard, Mayor Lester E. Taylor III and his team focused on a proactive public safety strategy to minimize the impact of the storm on the city.
That strategy included the purchasing of five F350 heavy duty Ford trucks with both plows and factory-installed salt spreaders and retrofitting eight existing trucks with plows. With the additions and upgrades, the city has more than doubled its snow fleet in the past year, said Mayor Taylor.
“We were more than prepared for this storm. Public safety is always a top priority and it is essential that we get our roads clear as early and as quickly as possible,” said Taylor. “These new trucks increased our efficiency and our self-sufficiency.”
Prior to the storm, the city regularly communicated updates and cancellations via email, text alerts, the city’s website and social media channels. The city also reinforced its “No Parking” regulations, advising drivers to have their cars off of the streets by 8 p.m. Trucks began pre-salting at that time, easing snow removal for Tuesday morning.
Mayor Taylor rode along with DPW personnel late Monday night and in the wee hours of Tuesday morning to assess the snowfall and to make a determination about whether or not to close municipal offices.
“I’d like to commend my staff and our emergency personnel for doing an excellent job. All of the major streets were cleared by early this morning,” said Chris Coke, Director of Public Works. “The employees, some of whom didn’t go home last night, worked tirelessly to ensure that our roads were safe for travel.”
Due to the statewide travel ban that was still in place as of 6 a.m., Mayor Taylor decided to close city hall. The ban was lifted by 7:45 a.m., but municipal offices remained close to exercise extreme caution and to ensure the safety of employees. Despite the revocation of the ban, state officials were still advising New Jerseyans to stay off of the roads whenever possible to allow for continued cleanup. East Orange municipal offices will resume normal operations on Wed. Jan. 28th.