Prince George’s County exec takes aerial tour of snow removal progress

WASHINGTON — Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker took a helicopter tour of his county Tuesday afternoon to see for himself the progress that the county’s plows had made in clearing the two feet of snow that clogged residential roads.

The chopper touched down in Temple Hills, where Baker said he was gratified to see residents pitching in to help each other dig out.

But while he saw a positive side to the struggle to clear roadways, some residents were just plain mad, saying their neighborhoods hadn’t seen a single plow since the snow started falling.

At a desk in one of the administrative buildings at the county’s Department of Public Works and Transportation complex, staffer Donna Henderson worked to calm an irate caller.

“I just want to say thank you for your patience. We know it’s rough, but we’re trying our best to get to you,” she said in soothing tones.

But the anger over the wait was exacerbated by the DPWT’s software failure. The public interface of the county’s map that showed the progress of plows in real time crashed.

Then, callers were directed to dial 311, which some residents said was clearly overwhelmed.

Musa Eubanks, director of community relations, says the 311 system was handling well beyond the typical level of calls.

Darrell Mobley, acting director of the DPWT, said that as of 7 p.m. Tuesday the county’s main roads were clear, and that 60 percent of residential roads were “passable” — meaning at least one lane of a two lane road was clear.

Mobley said the county is working to get all residential roads passable by 9 p.m. Wednesday.

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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