PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – This past winter we have seen unplowed streets throughout the city and one of the reasons – a million-dollar GPS system the city says doesn’t work as it should.
The complaints have persisted all winter long, some streets plowed late, others not at all.READ MORE: WalletHub: Pennsylvania Among Least Safe States During Pandemic
Monday was no exception.
“This is one of the many streets that get passed over,” said Michelle Lenkner of Beechview.
It’s natural for them to blame short-staffing or the operators themselves, but it may not be their fault at all.
“I’m all for technology, but technology isn’t always the best answer,” said Councilman Anthony Coghill.
The city has spent more than a million dollars on GPS systems for the plow trucks which are supposed to direct the drivers on prescribed routes, covering every street.
However, plow operators say a glitch in the program bypasses some streets entirely and Councilman Coghill has been calling on the city to fix it.
“So we don’t have to backtrack three days later to do that side street we just passed by,” Coghill explained.READ MORE: Heinz Field COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic Adding More Appointments
Other problems have been found in the city’s plow tracker app, which is supposed to inform residents of the location of the trucks and how often a street has been plowed.
According to Coghill, the tracker is not registering plows even when they’ve done a street several times, resulting in complaint calls to his office.
“Many times we do have operators in the district but it’s not showing up,” he said. “So, if it’s not showing up, it’s not doing me any good.”
“We’re not happy with the computer contractor and their subs,” said former Public Works Director Mike Gable. “Their team has not met our needs right now.”
Before Gable retired as Public Works Director last month, he told us of his frustration with the GPS and plow tracker systems and said the city has been in regular communication to work out the bugs.
However, according to Coghill, that may have to wait until next year.
“Seems to be a lot of bad components are outweighing the good components of the tracker system,” he said. “I’m not ready to scrap it just yet.”
Throughout the winter, the city has been talking to these software companies, threatening to withhold payments.MORE NEWS: Pennsylvania Department Of Health Says Flu Activity Across State Remains Low
However, the bugs have not been worked out.