2014 Snow traffic photo not from Hoover
This photo was sent in from another area of Birmingham, but it illustrates the dangers of driving during icy conditions. Officials are urging people to stay off the roads.
City of Hoover crews worked through the night sanding roads, but the chaos that erupted during Winter Storm Leon might take some time to clean up.
“We’re staying in contact with ALDOT, and I’m sure they’ll be doing the same thing we are,” Mayor Gary Ivey said Tuesday, Jan. 28. “But the big problem now is we need to get the streets clear of traffic. It’s absolute gridlock out there. It’s impossible get sand trucks out.”
As the sun went down, the City pleaded with residents to stay off the roads. Ivey said like sand trucks, the City’s first responders were unable to move throughout the city. Drivers abandoned many vehicles and struck out on foot.
Ivey, celebrating his 23rd wedding anniversary, was stranded at City Hall along with many other City of Hoover employees are after failed attempts to leave during the storm. He said Lorna Road was closed, and its traffic was diverted to U.S. 31. After that, Montgomery Highway is a parking lot.
Like many others throughout the greater Birmingham area, Ivey said some City employees attempted to leave and ended up back at the office — three to four hours later. He added he and Hoover Executive Director Allen Pate made separate attempts to drive some employees home but were unable to reach U.S. 31 after close to two hours
A grass right-of-way and a parking lot are all that separate City Hall from U.S. 31.
So, including City Hall, Hoover opened several locations for rest and warmth.
• Hoover Recreation Center, 600 Municipal Drive
• Greystone Elementary School, 300 Village Street
• Spain Park High School, 4700 Jaguar Drive
• Hoover Public Safety Center Court Room, 2020 Valleydale Road
• All Hoover Fire Stations
Elsewhere, Hoover City Schools (HCS) announced they will be closed Wednesday, Jan. 29. However, an unknown number of children couldn’t be picked up, and buses weren’t able to take them home.
Principals, teachers and other staff stayed through the night at every school in the district taking care of students.
“Their safety and security is our number one priority,” HCS Media Relations Representative Jason Gaston said Jan. 28. “Several of our schools are in the process of serving dinners to the students right now, and each school has a plan for sleeping arrangements.”
Gaston said all stranded students were warm and safe, but added that parents are still encouraged to come check out their child if at all possible. However, safety should be of primary concern, and all reports say roads might not be safe to drive until midday.
Current weather reports indicate the temperature will barely rise above freezing on Jan. 29, but a day of full sun mixed with roads being treated through the night could make driving possible by early afternoon.
Neither the City of Hoover nor Hoover City Schools have announced an official cleanup plan.