There were hundreds of clogged roads all over the Metro Atlanta area this week.
Too many people trying to get home at the same time, jammed the roads making it next to impossible for road crews to do their job in many spots.
That's what happened in John's Creek on Old Alabama Road, at least.
According to the city manager John Kachmar, up to 400 cars were stranded on the road, all because of some icy hills the trucks could not get to because of the sea of cars and trucks.
People were waiting hours for conditions to change, some even began abandoning their cars altogether.
It was at that point Kachmar says, the people in charge need to have one of two conversations. "The [first] conversation is, we have to sit on our hands, there's not a lot we can do," said Kachmar. "[The second is] let's figure out what we can do; I mean you try to get creative."
Kachmar got a creative idea from his police chief.
The idea was to start at the back of the line of cars and convince them to get into a single file line behind a dump truck as it passed. In the back of the dump truck would be two men, shoveling sand and cinder onto the road creating a path the following cars could use to get up the frozen hills that were trapping them in place.
The idea worked. Eventually the clog was dislodged and only a few cars were left behind on the sides of the road.
This concept of finding a solution and getting people to work together is in stark contrast to what happened on Thornton Road in Douglas County.
Hundreds of cars were stranded there, many drivers had to spend the night sleeping in their cars.
Kachmar says, there is no point in blaming people now. The conditions and the decisions drivers made to get on the roads when they did added to a problem that no city, big or small, was equipped to handle.
But he isn't letting everyone off the hook either.
Kachmar says, the City or Atlanta in conjunction with all of the neighboring metropolitan municipalities, and the appropriate state agencies, need to come together and devise an emergency evacuation plan for the people.
At that table should be representatives from the private sector and the media as well, since the radio and broadcast media are often who the people are listening to for instruction in emergencies like these.
Kachmar believes that all stakeholders can create such a plan, but it will only be possible through a level of cooperation, collaboration, and coordination unlike anything this city has seen before.
"Could it be done? Sure it could. It's done in northern cities all the time," said Kachmar.
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Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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