Indianapolis skips private contractors for snow removal

Published: .
Updated: .

Some Indianapolis residents were less than thrilled to learn of the city's decision not to deploy private contractors to clear the snow from side streets.

Typically the Department of Public Works calls in extra plows when the city gets six inches of snow or more. That's usually an automatic trigger. But due to what the city calls an unusual set of circumstances, residents are on their own.

Indianapolis recorded nine inches at the airport and about seven inches downtown. By Monday morning, main roads were relatively clear of snow, but neighborhoods were still snowy and slushy, and that could turn into an icy mess when it freezes over Monday night.

The city decided to save money because it says pavement temperatures are above freezing. Because it's so late in winter - or, technically, early in the spring - DPW is going to let it melt.

Residents on the northwest side weren't entirely happy with that decision.

"We pay for the service. I'd love for them to come anytime the snow comes down," said Tod Greenwood, Indianapolis.

"It's bad but they have to make those decisions to spend the money or not. And they're not. They're broke," said Ron Warrick.

A woman who was scraping the snow off her car mused, "That's why we pay them the big bucks. To make those heavy decisions."

The last time the city called in private contractors to clear neighborhood streets, it cost taxpayers $400,000. Before Sunday's storm, Indianapolis had already spent $4.8 million on snow removal/road treatment for the 2012-2013 winter.

Temperatures will get above freezing this week with highs in the mid-thirties Tuesday, climbing steadily as the week progresses. From Tuesday onward, sun will help melt off the snow and we'll be in the fifties by the weekend.

See SkyTrak Weather updates here.