Montgomery County 311 Center Inundated with Calls about Snow Clearing

Montgomery County 311 Center Inundated with Calls about Snow Clearing

Spokesman says the center received more than 2,200 calls during a 30-minute period Tuesday morning

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Mohawk Lane in Bethesda had yet to be cleared as of Monday afternoon as crews worked their way through neighborhood streets

Andrew Metcalf

Residents frustrated that their streets haven’t been plowed have been calling Montgomery County’s 311 help and service line in record numbers, but county officials say there’s no way to provide them with answers about when plows will clear their streets.

Patrick Lacefield, a spokesman for the county, said the 311 line received 2,264 calls between 9:30 and 10 a.m. Tuesday. Over a 24-hour period Monday, the line received 25,000 calls.

To put those numbers in perspective, the call center receives about 2,000 calls on a normal day, according to Lacefield.

Lacefield said crews are continuing Tuesday to clear more than 4,000 miles of neighborhood roads, but it’s time-consuming work and crews don’t know exactly when they’ll get to unplowed streets.

He said many callers are waiting 10 to 15 minutes on hold to 311 hoping to find out when a plow will come to their neighborhood.

“The point is if they’re waiting to find out when a plow is coming to their front door, that’s not information they’re going to get because it doesn’t exist,” Lacefield said. “What people need to know is our crews are now in day three of post-storm-cleanup and we’re continuing to work as hard as we can and as smart as we can.”

Lacefield said about 40 county employees have been working in three shifts to field calls over the past 100 hours and have been attempting to give callers as much context about the situation as possible.

He added that he understands residents are frustrated that their streets haven’t been plowed, but the sheer amount of snow has made clearing difficult. Traditionally, the county has needed to haul out snow only from central business districts such as Bethesda or Silver Spring, but crews are finding they need to do so in residential areas in order to clear roads.

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