The Greater Hartford region is expected to return largely to normal Wednesday as most state employees head back to work after a five-day hiatus and the state courts reopen.
The Metro-North Commuter Railroad is scheduled to be back in full service starting Wednesday, and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said that 95 percent of the state\’s main roads are now largely free of snow.
\”It\’s going to take us a little longer to get back to normal, but we are rapidly getting there,\’\’ Malloy said, adding that \”some level of normalcy\’\’ should return by mid-day Wednesday.
Tuesday was a holiday for state employees to mark President Abraham Lincoln\’s birthday, which extended the days off that stretched back to the start of the Blizzard of 2013 that dumped 27 inches of snow on Hartford and 40 inches on Hamden in a record-setting storm.
The state broke snow records in seven of the eight counties – with the exception of Litchfield County in the state\’s northwest corner.
As the cleanup operations continued, Malloy issued his final storm briefing to reporters at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the state armory in Hartford.
\”No matter how you add it up, it\’s a lot of snow,\’\’ Malloy told reporters. \”The National Guard has done an outstanding job in helping municipalities, particularly in getting people to hospitals with Humvees, as well as moving dialysis patients from many of the most stricken areas to get them where they needed to be.\’\’
At least 120 agricultural buildings have collapsed statewide, including chicken coops, greenhouses, and barns, Malloy said. Some cows and chickens have died in the collapses, but no totals were available.
Malloy declined to comment on the ongoing problems with snow removal in the city of Hartford. The city has had problems dating back to the days of then-Mayor Carrie Saxon Perry when few plows were operating during a memorable storm. Asylum Avenue, the main road that provides almost a direct connection between the governor\’s residence and the emergency operations center at the State Armory on Broad Street, was still not completely cleared Tuesday. The street is heavily trafficked for thousands of drivers headed daily to St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center, CPTV, the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, YWCA, The Hartford insurance company\’s tower, and the busy downtown train and bus station at Union Place.
\”I\’m trying to do my best not to get dragged into a city by city by city review, quite frankly,\’\’ Malloy said. \”We have assets in play in Hartford. We\’ll have more assets in play in Hartford [on Wednesday]. It\’s the capital city. It\’s one of the insurance centers of the world. We want to make sure it\’s up and running as quickly as possible. I\’ll leave it at that.\’\’
Hartford area residents complained about massive traffic jams during the rush hour Tuesday night as some took two hours to travel from Farmington to Hartford following two accidents on Interstate 84. One driver needed 45 minutes to go six miles.
\”It started with a fire in a vehicle at about 4 o\’clock in West Hartford on 84 going east, and then an accident on the far side, excuse me, going west, the far side going east,\’\’ Malloy said. \”It\’s just a gigantic backup. … The reason I know about this is I got caught in it myself.\’\’
When asked about another storm that might arrive on Wednesday night into Thursday morning, Malloy said, \”I gotta tell ya. We\’re not going to sweat two inches. … We can handle two inches.\’\’
Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra sent out a tweet that the city was clearing the roads on a regular basis.
\”We\’ve made significant progress opening roads and removing snow today,\’\’ Segarra wrote. \”Roads are constricted but all are passable.\’\’