EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


February 13, 2013

Parents fear for students walking on edges of streets

City works to clean sidewalks, widen roads


"Everybody is doing the best they can," Scully said. "Many communities are still closed and we're open.

"Weather presents a challenge in the northeast and we have to be aware of those challenges," he said. "I was criticized for closing school on Monday. People said their children have been home three days and they should go back. We made the right call, but some people weren't happy with it."

Scully said problems with snow-covered sidewalks affects people of all ages, not just students walking to school.

Fiorentini said that in the past when the snow was less deep, police and inspectors responded to complaints about impassible sidewalks by visiting residents and warning them to comply with the ordinance. The mayor said the warnings were usually all that was needed to get people to comply.

"We're doing what we can with two sidewalk plows and we're considering buying a third one, but there's no possible way we can do all of the sidewalks in the city," Fiorentini said. "It's a problem in other communities too, including Boston, where they didn't have school as the sidewalks were so bad, Every city in the area struggles with this."

The city is engaged in a massive cleanup, with workers using various pieces of heavy equipment to remove and haul away snow that was piled high along streets and near intersections as the result of plowing.

From front-end loaders lifting mounds of snow to dump trucks hauling it off to the Highway Department yard on Primrose Street, officials say efforts to make the city safer for pedestrians and drivers will continue throughout the week and into the weekend.

School officials said the roughly two feet of snow the storm dumped on Haverhill is making it difficult to clear every sidewalk and that children need to be extra cautious when walking to and from school. Officials said area communities are dealing with the same problems.

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