Oct 292009
Authors: Madeline Novey

After it was closed to pedestrians and vehicle traffic Wednesday morning as a result of a massive snowstorm, CSU’s historic Oval will remain taped off to the public until all of the broken and damaged limbs still suspended from the trees can be removed.

The university’s arborists evaluated the risk presented by the almost century-old trees on the Oval –/snow accumulated on the tree’s branches causing some to strain and break beneath the added weight –/at 9:30 a.m. Thursday morning and found that it was still too great to permit people and cars to pass under the trees, CSU spokesperson Dell Rae Moellenberg said in an e-mail.

The Oval will be re-opened as soon as the dangerous limbs are removed, she said.

Most recently, CSU closed the Oval in March of 2003/due to a combination of the same factors that closed it yesterday –/heavy, wet snow accumulated on leaves still on the trees, causing them to bow beneath the weight.

The worst damage incurred was by young Elm trees younger than 15 years. The larger, older trees “suffered little structural damage,” Moellenberg said. No damage to university buildings was reported.

Less than two hours after the Oval’s closure, the university closed, canceling classes and operations at 2 p.m., citing concern over the increasingly severe snowstorm conditions and future forecasts for the Northern Colorado region.

After living in the area for 30 years, Larry Schneider, City of Fort Collins street superintendent, said, “This is definitely one of the largest storms I’ve seen in October this early.”

Since snow started falling in the city at approximately 8 p.m. Tuesday night, Schneider said about 20 snow plows have worked “’round the clock” to clear the city’s streets. And about 30 people –/mechanics, people shoveling the streets and sidewalks and motor operators –/work throughout each 12-hour shift.

Though final numbers would not be available until early next week, Schneider said, the city’s snow removal costs come to approximately $150,000 at this time.

Schneider encouraged residents to shovel their sidewalks within 24 hours after the storm. City snow removal crews will clear all public sidewalks.

Anyone, bikers especially, were asked to call the Streets Department at (970) 221-6615 to report areas requiring snow removal.

There were eight vehicular accidents reported to the Fort Collins Police Services from 5 p.m. Wednesday through noon Thursday, FCPS spokesperson Rita Davis said in a phone interview with the Collegian. There were no injuries or deaths reported.

The city is currently on accident alert because of snowy road conditions, Davis said. If there are no injuries, drugs or alcohol involved in the incident, people have four days to report their accidents to the police.

To report an accident call FCPS at (970) 221-6540. In the case of an emergency call 911.

News Managing Editor Madeline Novey can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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