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ATLANTA SNOW STORM: Most Major Roads Clear, Side Streets Still Snowbound

5:23 AM, Jan 14, 2011   |    comments
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Secondary streets are a priority for snow removal, but it's slow going and dangerous.

ATLANTA -- As the sun set to the west of the Atlanta cityscape, the ice formed to the east.

Nowhere was this clearer than from atop the hill at North Avenue and Charles Allen, where the shadows made the melting snow freeze in minutes. It shut down the major traffic artery just in time for rush hour.

Cars were not the only vehicles having trouble on the slippery street. Anything with wheels found them spinning in place, like the person in a motorized wheelchair soon discovered as he tried to get across the street. He could not navigate the ice and spun in a circle trying to free himself.

Even if the chair had been able to move, crossing the street would have been a perilous journey. He was extremely close to oncoming cars that had limited control. An off-duty Atlanta policeman helped him get where he needed to go.

But for some others, things didn't turn out so well. Like the motorist halfway down the hill who hit a tree after swerving on the ice to miss a car in front of him.

"It is what it is," he said. "I think after a few years we should be able to prepare for [the ice], but you know, I don't run the government."

Across town in Grant Park, while earth graders moved ice off the exit lanes on I-20, the overpasses went untouched. The secondary roads are the new priority for snow crews. But getting them clear has been slow.

Atlanta police warned motorists that they will begin to start towing abandoned cars parked illegally on the streets to speed up the effort.

"Any cars that are impeding the right of way or are actually road hazards, we need to get those out of the way for traffic purposes; also for clean-up purposes," said APD spokesman Carlos Campos. "So if we have to, we're going to impound those, we're going to get them out of the way."

Police stressed that cars parked legally will not be towed.

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