BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The driving ban in the City of Buffalo was lifted at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, Mayor Byron Brown announced Wednesday night.

The ban was replaced with a travel advisory.

The driving ban had been in place since 9:30 a.m. Friday morning due to the catastrophic blizzard that swept through western New York throughout the weekend, dropping multiple feet of snow in the area on top of wind that got up to 70 miles per hour in some areas.

As of Wednesday night, the storm has killed 28 people in the City of Buffalo. Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said that they received 911 calls regarding bodies that they weren’t able to find anything, but they will be “double and triple checking” some calls they believe to be credible, but the number of those remaining is low.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said that they are still discouraging driving when they don’t need to. “We still have a ways to go, but we have come a long way,” Brown said.

The city and Brown had come under fire from Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, saying that the city’s response to the snowstorm and plowing efforts was “embarrassing.” He had initially stated that the driving ban in Buffalo would not be lifted until 9 a.m. Thursday at the earliest, but the course has now changed.

Meanwhile, Brown reiterated that the city had been the hardest-hit area by the storm. The city said that as of 11 a.m. Wednesday, 100 percent of residential streets had seen at least one pass from a snowplow, 80 percent of secondary roads have had two passes and 95 percent of primary roads had seen at least one pass.

A city spokesperson said that more than 450 pieces of snow removal equipment have been on city streets working to clear snow and abandoned cars throughout the city.

In addition, the Erie County portions of State Routes 5, 33, and 198 fully reopened at Midnight. As of Midnight, all major state highways in western New York are open.

It was also announced that City Hall will be open on Thursday.

You can watch a replay of Wednesday night’s press conference with Brown, Department of Public Works Commissioner Nate Marton and Gramaglia above.

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Aidan Joly joined the News 4 staff in 2022. He is a graduate of Canisius College. You can see more of his work here.