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December 27. 2012 11:32PM

Storm came at an ideal time for school, highway officials

MANCHESTER - The snowstorm's timing was perfect for the city's school department. With students on Christmas vacation, there was no need for a delayed start, no cancellations, no bus problems. no snow day to potentially extend the school year.

The timing wasn't bad for the highway department, either. Deputy Public Works Director Tim Clougherty said the crews and snow equipment went out at midnight Wednesday and were able to take care of the priorities: main streets first, arterial roadways next and then the remaining streets.

"I anticipate sending them home at the end of the day (3:30 p.m.)," he said early Thursday afternoon.

Because a snow emergency was declared for Wednesday night, all vehicles had to be off the streets between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. to permit snowplowing.

Not everybody got the message, despite the flashing strobe lights on traffic lights that signal the snow emergency and the email and text messages motorists can sign up for on the city website.

Manchester police said 194 vehicles were towed to the impound lot at Derryfield Park, to be retrieved by their owners for $110.

The city provides two locations for residents to park their vehicles during snow emergencies: the Victory parking garage at Chestnut and Amherst streets and the Pearl Street parking lot.

Between the parking ban and the towed vehicles, the city streets were pretty clear and crews were able to make their first pass down the center of the street, so traffic could go through, and then work clearing to the sides.

Clougherty said some streets got more than one pass during the storm, but with the snow winding down Thursday afternoon, Clougherty was comfortable that street clearing was under control.

But while there was no snow emergency declared for Thursday night, Clougherty reminded drivers that the city's winter odd-even parking ordinance is in effect, with today, Friday, an even side of the street parking day.

McIntyre Ski area was happy to see the snowstorm. "Business is great," said general manager Ross Boisvert. He said the ski area cancelled Thursday morning's vacation ski classes, which start at 9 a.m., out of concern about travel conditions.

But the ski area opened as usual and ski conditions were ideal. "On a day like this, it gets busier in the afternoon," he said, adding that the ski area is open until 9:30 p.m.

Thanks to the snowstorm, Boisvert said the tubing hill may open today, but will be open for sure on Saturday.


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