After the snowstorm

Helpful hands push a Dodge Charger caught in deep snow and slush in the 1700 block of Northwest 52nd Street Wednesday afternoon. While major roadways were cleared around Lawton for the most part, pile of snow and slush made entry and exit from side streets a struggle for many.

Crews with the City of Lawton began work Wednesday to clear arterials and city facilities of accumulated snow.

The work combined the efforts of multiple divisions, allowing a focus on blading and sanding arterials across the city which received an addition 6 inches of snow Tuesday and Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service in Norman (some areas of town reported more). Wednesday morning, at least one lane was cleared for drivers on arterials and efforts continued through the day.

As those streets crews worked, employees with the sewer rehabilitation division — who have large dozers usually used to clear soil — began clearing deep snow accumulations at locations such as Lawton Police Department and city fire departments, the parking lot of Lawton Municipal Court in the City Hall Annex, and Southwest 4th Avenue and Southwest A Avenue, the west and south edges of the police station. Crews from the Parks and Recreation Department worked to clear sidewalks on city property for staff and citizens, to include sites such as Lawton Public Library and Lawton City Hall.

Tiffany Vrska, City of Lawton community relations director, said the sewer rehabilitation division took on the job of clearing parking lots for city sites, while the solid waste disposal division provided a motor grader and operator to assist. That allowed streets division crews to focus on clearing arterials, and Vrska said streets crews will continue clearing roads as long as conditions warrant.

She said some of that work began overnight Tuesday/Wednesday with blading and laying down sand/salt mixture, but operations on streets depended on snow fall. The work continued through the day Wednesday, with two motor graders plowing arterials and seven sand/salt trucks treating roads. City of Lawton operations are focused on arterials and some major collector roads; residential roads are not cleared.

Bitterly cold temperatures have continued to cause equipment issues, city officials said, adding the equipment maintenance team is working to make repairs as quickly as possible.

Vrska said the city’s weather crews would continue to work in 24-hour shifts through Wednesday night. Administrators reassess the situation at the end of each 24-hour shift to determine if those shifts will continue into the next day.

With clearing weather, city offices expect to resume normal operations and hours for all sites today and Friday.

That means a partial reopening for some city facilities that have been closed to the public since early December, allowing the general public to re-enter Lawton City Hall for full in-person service at the utility services office (water department) and the license and permit office. Cash payments may resume and appointments for routine services no longer are required for these offices, city officials said. Lawton Public Library will allow patrons to return without appointment, but occupancy limits may be imposed. Curbside services will continue to those who want it. Lawton Municipal Court returned to in-person visits last month.

Other city departments and offices still will require appointments for in-person meetings or business. Contact information for those sites is available on the city’s website: lawtonok.gov/departments.

Visitors are reminded they must wear facial coverings, and to maintain proper social distancing to come inside city facilities. Temperature checks also will be required before entering the buildings.

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