Snow clean-up underway in Indianapolis

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A frantic clean-up is underway in Central Indiana after a winter storm pounded the region overnight. The heavy snowfall led to hundreds of delays and closures, and made for a dangerous and messy commute.

Crews are working fast to clear the snow away before the temperatures take a big drop.

The City of Indianapolis was under pressure to clear the snow quickly following last month's storm, which prompted thousands of calls to the Mayor's Action Center.  Although the Feb. 4th storm did not dump as much snow on the city as the snowstorm on Jan. 5th, there was still plenty to do.

By midday, some streets like Meridian St. in downtown Indianapolis were clear down to the pavement, and cars were driving at a fair clip. Most streets were plowed and passable, although neighborhood streets are still snow-covered (and some with a layer of ice underneath that snow).

Department of Public Works crews salted the streets ahead of the storm and plowed after the snow began falling.

Residents say this time, the snow response was better than it was in January.

"I see more action on the street with snow plows and Bobcats," said one man. But he admitted, "I've got four-wheel drive, so that helps!"

Another man attributed the better response to the overall snow total. Indianapolis recorded around seven inches at the airport, a few less than in the January storm.

"They're getting better. They can't just plow it; they gotta move it. It's a job, but they've done a good job," said one driver.

After three weather-related closures last month, the City-County Building opened on time with most offices open, although the courts had a four-hour delay - leading to some confusion this morning.

City plows will be out Thursday on main roads, with private contractors plowing residential areas before the temperature plunges.

Mayor Greg Ballard said on Eyewitness News at Noon that the goal was to clear the slush off the roads.

In the residential areas, the mayor said, "it's taking a little more time this time around - my understanding is they're doing a more thorough job and taking a little bit more time to get it done."

The mayor said the problem with last month's snowstorm was the subzero temperatures and high winds that followed the snowstorm. That was less of an issue this time.

"What we did learn from last time was that the residential contractors have to have a certain amount of snow to plow. If it gets too big, it makes it very difficult for them. So that's why we sent them out last night at eleven. They're out right now as we speak," he said.

Mayor Ballard reminds businesses to clear snow-covered sidewalks. "They should be clearing them. It's their responsibility to be clearing them. As I drove through the city this morning, I actually saw that quite a bit."

Eyewitness News asked him about the decision to keep the City-County Building open.

"We thought this was the type of snow we could get clear pretty quickly. Get the roads passable pretty quickly. IndyGo was going to run so it didn't make sense to close it today," he said.

Regarding Indianapolis Public Schools closing Wednesday, the mayor explained, "They have a little different set of parameters. They have to look at bus stops and things like that, so they look at it a little bit differently. I understand Dr. Ferebee is always about the kids' safety and if that was the decision he, I'm okay with that."

We also asked the mayor who shoveled at his house overnight, and he admitted, "Winnie got a lot of cardio in this morning!"