Most services back in full swing after winter storm

Government services across much of the midstate largely returned to normal Tuesday, with officials saying Monday’s coating of ice caused fewer problems than it might have despite a one-day shutdown.

City garbage collection in Macon was canceled Monday, so the four-day pickup schedule, which starts with south Macon, was simply shifted by one day, said Richard Powell, the city’s Public Works director.

“We’re picking up Monday today and Tuesday (on Wednesday),” he said Tuesday afternoon. “Friday, we’ll pick up Thursday’s route, and we’ll be caught up for the week.”

Likewise, trash pickup in the unincorporated portions of Bibb County will be one day behind schedule. Southland Waste System announced the change because of Monday’s storm.

Bibb County Chief Administrative Officer Steve Layson said things had largely returned to normal by Tuesday. He’s not sure yet what the bill will be for overtime -- some county employees were working around the clock -- and for materials including fuel, sand, rock and salt to clear roads.

Layson said everyone worked well together, both inside the government and with residents, who’d been asked to stay off the streets. Few accidents were reported with few people outside.

“Everybody just did a great job,” he said.

Macon and Bibb County authorities reported fewer than two dozen accidents during the brunt of Monday’s storm. Across the midstate, the Georgia State Patrol reported 61 crashes, with 22 injuries but no fatalities, from 8 p.m. Sunday to 8 p.m. Monday.

After the ice canceled the first two days of school this week for many school systems, most of them, including Bibb County, will resume classes Wednesday. Monroe and Jasper county public schools, however, will remain closed because of the threat of icy roads.

Chris Floore, a spokesman for the Bibb school system, said officials still need to meet and consult with the state to adjust the system’s calendar to make up for the missed days. An announcement will be made in enough time to let parents make adjustments to their schedules for the makeup days, he said.

All Bibb County school facilities have had their power and heating checked, and officials also have checked buses to make certain they are running properly. Officials advised parents and students to use caution, because there still may be patches of ice on the roads.

City road crews handled the ice as a matter of routine, spreading salt and gravel first on a checklist of bridges that always freeze early, Powell said. By midday Tuesday, city streets were mostly dry, so he didn’t expect much re-freezing in the coming night. If more ice does form, there’s still plenty of salt and gravel left.

“We still have our trucks ready if some ice shows up,” he said.

Other city workers were back on the job, coming in at 11 a.m. Tuesday, but City Council hadn’t yet caught up. The Public Safety Committee meeting canceled Monday hasn’t yet been rescheduled, and Tuesday’s council work session also was canceled, said Dorothy Tuggle, the assistant clerk of council.

Macon Transit Authority buses were back on the road Tuesday after a day’s halt. In bad weather, supervisors survey bus routes about 4 a.m. to see if they’re safe, said Rick Jones, the authority’s CEO.

“Yesterday, it was determined that it was just too icy,” he said Tuesday. Accordingly, service was canceled. Jones received lots of calls asking when buses would be running again, but he received no complaints about the cancellation, he said. Since so many businesses were closed, not many regular riders wanted or needed to get out anyway.

Staff writer Phillip Ramati contributed to this report.