North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

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January 30, 2014

Just a few trouble spots remaining from abandoned vehicles on local roads

As weather improved Thursday, the owners of many vehicles that were abandoned during Tuesday’s snowfall have either retrieved them or moved them out of harm’s way. But a few problem spots remain in Gardendale and elsewhere.

Gardendale police chief Mike Walker said things were looking a lot better on Thursday, with main roads clear of ice.

“Lots of people have been able to get out and move their vehicles,” Walker said.

The hills on Fieldstown Road coming up from either side of the Interstate 65 interchange were problem spots early in the snow event, with city crews putting sand down on the road as fast as they could. Vehicles were pulled off to the shoulder and in the median as they day wore on.

As of Thursday, just a handful of stranded vehicles were left in that area, and none were in the main roadway.

Walker said the remaining problem spots were in and near the Lexington Park neighborhood.

“They were lined up wall to wall there Tuesday, and some vehicles were just stopped in the middle of the road,” Walker said. “It was a major effort to get in and out of there, if not impossible.”

Walker’s department posted on its Facebook page Wednesday night that they would only tow vehicles that were abandoned in the roadway and impeding traffic. That message sparked some negative comments, as the move was compared to action by the city of Leeds, which garnered negative publicity as cars were towed there with fees that were sometimes high.

“We’ve taken some criticism over that, but the sad fact of the matter is that there were some people who were off work today [Thursday] as well and apparently though, ‘Well I don’t have to work so I don’t need to move my vehicle.’ And a lot of those were left in the middle of the road,” Walker said. “But as soon as we said that on Facebook, we started getting attacks.”

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