Hundreds of abandoned vehicles left stuck in snowdrifts on major roadways across Brookhaven have presented a "significant" challenge to Town officials who spent much of Saturday working to solve this challenge.
"The State and County roads are major arteries in the Town of Brookhaven for north-south transportation," said Daniel Panico, Brookhaven's Deputy Supervisor.
In addition to helping clear abandoned vehicles on major roadways, the heavy snow is also presenting challenges on the smaller roads Brookhaven is responsible for clearing.
"When we have to maneuver through back roads and town roads, it can be difficult," Panico said.
The deputy supervisor blamed the blizzard's late onset for tricking drivers into believing roadways would be safe Friday evening.
"People were lulled into a false sense of security when it was raining and sleeting early Friday" he said.
With so many abandoned vehicles clogging roadways on Friday, Brookhaven deployed Town employees with fork lifts to move stranded cars to the side of roadways to allow plows and emergency responders to move through.
Yet, even some of New York State's five-ton snowplows loaded with sand and salt had problems, getting stuck in drifts, according to Panico.
Despite these challenges, about 90 percent of major roadways were clear and passable by Saturday evening, allowing Town officials to shift their focus to clearing secondary roads and residential streets.
Panico said the Town has cleared all necessary roadways to allow National Grid and LIPA to bring in equipment to handle local power outages.
On Saturday, Brookhaven unveiled an on-line form for residents to inform the Town of unplowed streets.
Hundreds of Town employees with more than 500 pieces of heavy equipment are expected to work through Saturday night to clear the roadways.
"We have our Town personnel digging out abandoned vehicles that way people can safety return at some point to claim them," Panico said.
Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine signed an Emergency Executive Order Saturday that called for all non-emergency vehicles be remain off Town roads. State and County police will be working with the Town to enforce this order.
"If you truly don't need to be on the roads, you shouldn't be on the roads," Panico said.