Polar Vortex Costly for Ohio Cities, Businesses

January 15, 2014

The winter blast that brought snow and dangerous temperatures to much of Ohio will end up costing cities and businesses quite a bit of money.

Many are just beginning to add up the price tag for cleaning up the snow and fixing water main breaks and busted pipes.

Officials in Toledo estimate the two storms that dumped about 20 inches of snow since the end of December will cost the city up to $1 million.

Much of that is in salary and overtime costs for city workers, said Dave Welch, the city’s commissioner of streets, bridges, and harbor.

The city hired private plow contractors to help out and also brought in tow-trucks to move vehicles so that plows could clear residential streets.

“We haven’t had to tow cars in I don’t know how many years,” Welch said.

Water main breaks and pipe bursts were also a problem for cities and businesses.

The northern Ohio city of Elyria had at least 14 water main breaks since the beginning of the year, including nine on Monday alone.

A middle school in nearby North Ridgeville Middle School was closed because of a broken pipe that caused flooding in the boiler room.

Water from a broken water pipe soaked about 5,000 books and CDs at a library in Toledo on Wednesday. A restoration company began to salvage some of the items by freeze-drying them before allowing them to dry.

Sub-zero temperatures caused water pipes to burst in over 30 buildings at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton. Repairs are expected to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The city of Columbus had two big messes to clean up.

A burst water pipe caused flooding at the city’s police headquarters and a ruptured water pipe flooded downtown streets, buildings and underground parking garages.

Estimated cost from the utility work alone was over $34,000, said George Zonders, Columbus public utilities spokesman

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