Two people walk along Free Street over tire tracks left in a wet snow that fell on Monday, February 11, 2013. Public Services employees have been working shifts of 16 hours on and eight hours off to try and clear the city's streets of last weekend's historic blizzard.
City crews will continue working Tuesday to dig Portland out from this weekend's record snowstorm.
Crews on Monday began posting "no parking" signs on 27 streets that were determined to be impassable for firetrucks. They plan to remove snow from those streets over the next few days.
Crews using two huge snowblowers worked through Monday night in the city's business district. The snowblowers chewed through snowbanks and deposited snow into 24 dump trucks, which carried the snow to several storage sites in the city.
A team also used a front-end loader and three other dump trucks.
The snow removal process was slowed late Monday morning when light snow began to fall and many workers switched to plowing and sanding streets. Rain in the afternoon left many streets covered with slush and water.
"We are working as quickly as we can, but weather is a mitigating factor," said city spokeswoman Nicole Clegg.
Public Services Director Mike Bobinsky said the city is focusing first on clearing sidewalks in the business districts and along routes to schools.
He said crews have cleared 80 percent of the sidewalks that the city is responsible for clearing. He said he was pleased with the work of his crews and the help from the police and fire departments.
"It helped us to be really united in our response," he said.
Public Services employees have been working shifts of 16 hours on and eight hours off to sleep. Over the weekend, some slept in bunks in a room at Hadlock Field.
During the peak of the storm on Saturday, 110 city workers were plowing or removing snow. On Monday night, 55 people were at work, not including contractors.
Merchants in the Old Port were pleased that crews worked all Sunday night to haul away snow so that customers could find parking spaces, said Lee Auchincloss, manager of Furniturea on Market Street.
Bill Duggan, who owns Videoport on Middle Street, said he walked through much of the Old Port on Monday. "Quite a lot of the snow is gone," he said. "These guys are working -- holy cow!"
On Munjoy Hill, however, some small streets remained covered with a snow/slush mix that was hardening into ice as nighttime temperatures dropped below freezing.
Lafayette Street was one of those streets. At noon, the city posted no-parking signs on the side with even-numbered street addresses, from Quebec Street to Congress Street.
Kristin and Sam Lane, who live on Lafayette Street, said they hadn't seen a plow truck all day Sunday or Monday but they were willing to be patient because the conditions were so tough.
"They are doing everything they can," Kristin Lane said.
The storm on Friday and Saturday dropped a record 31.9 inches of snow on Portland.
The city manager's office typically gets complaints from residents and businesses after a winter storm, but the office didn't get any Monday, Clegg said.
Residents aren't complaining because the city knows how to handle a snowstorm, said Peter Donatelli, who manages his family business, Liliana's Laundromat, on Congress Street on Munjoy Hill.
On Saturday night, when Massachusetts residents were forbidden to drive on the roads, Donatelli drove from his home on Allen Avenue to St. Peter Parish on Federal Street, where he played the organ for the 5:15 p.m. Mass. He said he drove past several businesses and restaurants that were open.
"Clearly, Portland did not shut down. As soon as the last flake hit the ground, everything seemed to be open," he said. "Even though 32 inches is a record, it doesn't faze the people of Maine."
Staff Writer Tom Bell can be contacted at 791-6369 or at: