The Bedford Department of Public Works knows that winter is inevitable. But the arrival of winter conditions usually doesn’t coincide with the winter solstice. So, the DPW leaves nothing to chance.
“Since fall started, we’ve been gearing up for winter weather,” said DPW Director David Manugian. “That includes making sure all of our equipment is functioning properly, our supplies are prepared, and our contractors are lined up.”
He explained the sequence of snow and ice treatment and removal, depending on severity: “Our first line of response is for icy conditions and very light snow.”
And the overriding priority is to keep roads open and safe for emergency vehicles, he stressed.
Manugian enumerated the inventory. “We have six large dump trucks with front plows, salt spreaders, and underbody plows. If one-to-two inches are expected we expand to our full internal fleet of vehicles and equipment. This includes 25 pieces organized by separate routes around the town.”
If more snow is expected, he continued, “We start bringing in contractors to supplement town staff on their routes. We have 14 contracted pieces of equipment ranging from pickup trucks to large dump trucks and loaders.”
The Highway Division has introduced another wing plow onto one of the large dump trucks, he noted, to provide greater clearing width on large roads during light storms.”
“As time allows, we widen the roadways for improved access and clear the main rail trails,” Manugian continued. “Once a storm has subsided, we start clearing sidewalks around schools and on major routes, as well as improving intersection visibility.”
The DPW has resumed plowing Middlesex Turnpike, now that the lengthy state-funded construction is winding down in Bedford.
Manugian also pointed out that earlier this month the Select Board approved a contract for purchase of rock salt from Eastern Minerals of Chelsea, part of a cooperative arrangement among 15 cities and towns north of Boston. The price of $57 per ton compares to $71 per ton a year ago, Manugian said, with the market influenced by the mild winter of 2022-2023.
“We use anywhere from 1,000 to 3,000 tons, depending on the winter weather,” Manugian said. The contract calls for an estimated 5,000 tons, deliverable to the salt storage facility at 108 Carlisle Road. It’s a one-year deal, with an option to renew for an additional two, one year at a time.
“We ask that residents keep the areas around roadways and sidewalks clear, as anything left in the right of way can be damaged and in turn can damage our equipment,” Manugian said. He added that “once again we will be offering a sand/ salt mix for residents to pick up on their own outside Springs Brook Park at 171 Springs Rd.”
More information is available on the DPW website, https://www.bedfordma.gov/465/Winter-Operations.