Now that there's a lull after several consecutive storms, the city is turning its efforts toward snow removal to widen streets and clear sidewalks.

Officials are asking the public's patience and cooperation while the work is done. 

Mayor James Fiorentini said the city has received many requests from residents concerned about narrow streets and other snow-related problems, but the city cannot get to all of these complaints until the larger issues are addressed.

Fiorentini said he asked Public Works Director Michael Stankovich to put together the city's snow removal plan. 

"I thought this might help explain to people why we cannot get to every request immediately," Fiorentini said in a written statement he released this week. "The city’s goal is to open the streets and make them passable."

The mayor said that during a storm, city trucks plow the main streets. He said their highest priority is to clear the roads leading to the hospital and clearing streets for emergency vehicles. He said the largest city vehicles maintain the main streets and sand and salt the main roads.

If there is more than 2 inches of snow, the city calls in 135 private plow contractors. 

"They are assigned to the side streets," Fiorentini said. "Each private contractor is supervised by a city route supervisor."

Once the main streets are cleared, the city begins removing snow from school parking lots and sidewalks.

A city ordinance in place since the 1950s requires property owners to remove snow and ice from their bordering sidewalks within six hours. 

"We ask for voluntary cooperation and for neighbors when they are able to assist each other," the mayor said.

At the end of a storm, efforts turn to sanding and salting the newly plowed roads. But when the temperature is below 15 degrees, as it has been frequently over the last two weeks, the salt does not work effectively, the mayor said.

"Once the plowing is complete, we begin snow removal, which typically takes place overnight and on weekends," he said. "We remove snow from the more congested areas of Haverhill and intersections. This can take several weeks."

Fiorentini said he appreciates the cooperation of citizens and asks for their patience while the city continues to remove snow resulting from the string of snowstorms.

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