City used 225 tons of road salt fighting snow, ice
BY FRED PETKE
With a week and a half of Mother Nature’s worst now in hindsight, city crews are catching up on their rest and tallying used supplies.
Winchester Public Works Director Pat Clark said his employees used more than 225 tons of salt and accrued more than 60 hours of overtime trying to keep the city’s streets in check.
Clark said the lingering weather was one of the worst in his career.
“In 25 years with Public Works, I can’t think of as bad an event with sleet, ice and snow all together,” he said.
The combination of multiple types of precipitation and lingering temperatures well below freezing mean there was never the chance for one layer to thaw before the next arrived.
Clark was operating a snow plow trying to clear intersections, and it was not easy going.
“That blade would just bounce over the ice,” he said.
On President’s Day, Clark said his employees put in a 20-hour day before they went home to rest.
Through it all, Clark said there were a couple of mechanical breakdowns of equipment and one incident where a city truck was working on Colby Ridge Boulevard when it started sliding backwards and struck another vehicle. No one was injured, he said.
The department plan, he said, divides the city into five sections, with two trucks working in each area.
Invariably, there are calls and complaints from residents, he said, most often about snow being piled in front of driveways or around parked cars.
“The main objective for us is to get two lanes open for traffic,” Clark said. “In the event of that scenario, that’s not the public works department’s job. That is the responsibility of the vehicle owner. For driveways, they have to clean that themselves.”
Workers also plow about three feet inside a curb, to keep snow from piling up as much if the snow continues falling, he said.
“We will do our best to open a cul-de-sac so people’s cars can get out of their driveway,” he said.