Southern Norway is in the midst of its snowiest winter in years, creating huge challenges for those responsible for clearing streets and sidewalks. Ice has also caused problems, with local emergency rooms in Oslo dealing with an average of 48 patients a day with broken bones after falling.
Skiers are rejoicing, but state broadcaster NRK reported that more than 10,000 people have filed formal complaints with the city so far this winter, amounting to an “all-time high” that’s embarrassed and frustrated those in charge of making the city safe and accessible.
“We’re plowing, graveling, scraping away ice and driving away snow both day and night,” insisted Joakim Hjertum, division chief in the city’s roads department. “We’re working hard and doing the best we can.”
Suburban Bærum has received 2,400 complaints and comments. “We all see that this isn’t good,” Hjertum said, “but the weather conditions have also been demanding.” Rapid and major changes in temperatures, with snow turning to rain, have led to equally rapid formation of ice on contact with the frozen ground.
“We’ve never spread out so much gravel, salt and sand as we have this winter,” Hjertum said. The city nontheless will be evaluating its work when the season is over, he said, to see what can be done better next year. Sales of brodder, the spikes that can be fastened onto boots and shoes, meanwhile, have been brisk.