DPW Prevails over Snow, but Wary of an Evening Encore

March 14, 2023
This part of a forest in Bedford is usually dry, but last night and this morning’s heavy rain created a new pond, now surrounded by wet, sticky, heavy snow. Staff photo by Wayne Braverman

Bedford streets were open and most were clear of snow late Tuesday afternoon, but crews from the Department of Public Works were braced for a possible encore.

“We are watching a slight potential that the storm might wrap back around late this evening,” said DPW Director David Manugian. “Depending on whether we get another heavy dose, that will determine when we send the contractors home.”

Contractors were called in to supplement the full-time DPW crews on Tuesday morning, and they responded to an intense snowfall that tailed off after less than three hours.

“There were bursts of heavy, intense snow – a couple of inches an hour,” Manugian said. “When it starts to cover up the roads, you lose the radiational melting from the black surface.” Still, “The warm pavement works to our advantage. We don’t have to put salt down because the pavement is above freezing.”

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Manugian said Carl Gagnon, operations manager for the DPW’s Highway Division, estimated a local snowfall of five to six inches, “but it could vary around town a little.” He added, “It’s hard to say because the snow is still settling.” 

“Other than trees down and some localized flooding, there were no major issues,” Manugian said. “Catch basins backed up in a few spots, but with the warm weather, we are confident the water will drain down relatively quickly.” 

Railroad Avenue was closed to vehicles for a brief period because of recurring drainage issues; Manugian said that wasn’t an “official” closure.

Manugian said he expects crews will work through the night to finish the roads and school areas, and then turn to sidewalks after taking a break on Wednesday.

He acknowledged that when plows are clearing waterlogged snow the result can be damage to roadside mailboxes. He said mailbox damage can be reported with a phone call or through the contact form on the department website, “and we will investigate.”

“We appreciate residents’ patience and efforts to minimize trips on the road,” Manugian said. “That makes things a lot safer.”

That was abetted by School Superintendent Philip Conrad’s decision early Tuesday to close the schools for the day.

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