Mayor Jón Gnarr has responded to criticism from traffic officials and the general public over the decision not salt or sand roads and sidewalks last weekend, saying that it would have been pointless to do so. Clean-up crews were dispatched at about four o’ clock this morning.
As reported, the city chose not to strew any salt or sand on the city’s roads or sidewalks over the weekend, saying that sand needs to be swept up, and salt can be environmentally damaging. Dozens of people went to the emergency room due to slips on ice over the weekend, and Einar Magnús Magnússon, the public relations officer for the Road Traffic Directorate, says that they had never heard of this justification being used before.
Mayor Jón Gnarr responded to the criticisms, saying that the city was not trying to save money, but refrained from salting or sanding for practical reasons. “It was considered inadvisable to lay down salt or sand while raining as most of it would have been washed away or sank into the snow,” he told RÚV.
The mayor released a more formal statement on the matter later, Eyjan reports, assuring city residents that the although the city’s street system is 950km long, “all possible ways to de-ice streets and sidewalks will be taken.”
Adding to this, clean-up crews were dispatched early this morning to clear snow from streets and sidewalks in the neighbourhoods of Bústaðahverfi, Heimir, Vogur, Sund, Seláshverfi, Breiðholt, Vesturbær, Smáíbúðahverfi og Háaleiti, although cars parked on the street “could hinder the process”. Salt or sand will also be strewn at bus stops and in front of public buildings.