Snowstorm Plowing Information from the Bedford Public Works Highway Division

January 3, 2024
Image Bedford DPW

This information was provided by the Bedford Public Works Highway Division

The Bedford Public Works Highway Division maintains more than 80 miles of roads and 22.5 miles of sidewalks throughout town during the winter months. 

The primary goal during a storm is to maintain passable roads so that emergency crews (police, fire, and ambulance) have access to each property. 

The secondary goal is to treat the icy surface and/or push the snow aside for safe passage of the general public’s use of the roadways.

Several variables affect how the DPW deals with the storm including:

  • Air temperature (before, during, and after the storm)
  • Time of day
  • Day of week
  • The forecast
  • Duration of the storm

IMPORTANT REMINDERS TO RESIDENTS 

Town By-Laws Section 46.10: Clearing of Obstructions on Sidewalks, Placing Snow on Public Way or Town Property: The owner of land abutting a public sidewalk or a sidewalk to which the public has access as licensees or invitees shall ensure that no trees, vegetation, or brush intrude from his or her land into the area of the sidewalk. 

No person shall deposit or place or cause to be deposited or placed any snow, other than incidental amounts of snow, on any public sidewalk, street, or way which has previously been cleared of snow, nor shall any person deposit or place or cause to be deposited or placed any snow or ice upon town property without express permission of the Director of Public Works or designee, or the Chief of Police or designee thereof through the provisions of M.G.L., C. 40, § 21D, and the penalty for each violation shall be $100. 

Parking Bans 

Article IV, Section 5 of the Traffic Rules and Regulations states: There is no on-street parking in the Town of Bedford between 1 and 6 a.m. Please avoid parking in roadways. 

Vehicles impeding snow removal will be towed at owner’s expense. 

For additional snow-related parking restrictions see General Bylaws Section 46.15 and 46.16. 

Winter Sand 

Sand for residential use is available in the parking lot at the entrance to Springs Brook Park, 171 Springs Rd. 

Fire Hydrants/Catch Basins 

All residents who are able are asked to keep hydrants clear. The Fire Department is responsible for clearing snow from hydrants. If you know where a catch basin is located, please keep it clear if possible. 

The DPW and Fire Department appreciate your assistance with this. 

Safety 

When plows are on your road, use caution while clearing snow from driveways, and never allow children to play or build snow forts at the edge of the road.

SNOW REMOVAL 

Salting Operations: 

With the onset of snow, the DPW sends out town-owned salt spreaders. The Town relies on a private weather forecasting service and the local Police Department night shift officers to advise the DPW of local icy road conditions. 

Bedford has six salting routes and each driver is issued a map of their assigned route. Priority is given to main arterial roads, collector roads, and hilly areas, but drivers also respond to isolated problem areas. 

Plowing Operations: 

Plows are dispatched if a storm results in an accumulation of one-to-two inches. The town is divided into 22 plowing routes, and these routes are serviced by town-owned and contracted vehicles. 

Each driver is issued a map of their assigned route and is responsible for adequately clearing that route. Plows make initial passes in both directions starting at the centerline of the roadway to open up the center of the street for adequate passage of emergency and other vehicles. 

Residential streets are plowed with collector streets. The DPW gives priority to hilly terrain where possible. Shorter streets, dead ends, and remotely located streets are addressed last. 

After all streets in the route are “opened up,” the plows return to the streets to push the snow back beyond the pavement’s edge. This allows the street to open up for normal traffic operations, clears the drains for rain and snowmelt, and makes room for additional accumulations of snow. 

The DPW makes every effort to minimize the snow plowed into driveways. Residents should understand that the plow operators do not plow snow into driveways deliberately – this is an unavoidable consequence of clearing roadways. Plow operators cannot lift the plow blades or angle the blades as they pass driveways. It is the property owner’s responsibility to clear their own driveway access and it is their choice of when to do this task. (Residents may want to wait until after the plows return to push back edges to widen roadways to allow for future snowfall.) 

Sidewalk Plowing:

School walking routes are the DPW’s first priority. The second priority is to clear the remaining sidewalks on main roadways. 

The DPW says it “makes every effort to have all sidewalks cleared within three days after a storm. Sidewalk clearing gets interrupted at times by another storm and we have to start our schedule over before all areas are complete.”

Please Note: 

During these operations, DPW equipment may need mechanical work and the mechanics “make every effort to make repairs quickly so that operations continue as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

The DPW asks, “Please have patience throughout and after storms. Your road will be treated or cleared as quickly as possible.”

HELPFUL INFORMATION 

On most town roads, the Town right of way extends 5-to-10 feet beyond the edge of pavement. The Town-owned layout varies in width for each resident’s property. 

The town will not be responsible for damage to any property or personal item that has been placed or left within the roadway or town-owned layout such as sprinkler heads, bushes/shrubs/plants, basketball hoops, bicycles, toys, fences, or walls. 

Mailboxes

Mailboxes installed in the Town right of way are placed at the owner’s risk. Each mailbox installation should be sufficiently solid to withstand snow-clearing efforts by the Town. A large highway plow moves many tons of snow widening roadways. The rolling action of the snow will destroy or damage all but the strongest of mailboxes and posts. 

Residents may want to place a brace behind the box to break the force of the snow coming toward it. Place reflectors so the box and post can be seen under poor visibility conditions. 

It is the responsibility of the property owner to clear snow around mailboxes to assure mail delivery by the U.S. Postal Service. It is Town policy that mailboxes will not be repaired or replaced unless it is evident that the damage was caused by the plow blade and not the force of the snow. If a mailbox gets replaced, it will be with a standard mailbox and post only. 

Vehicles Parked in Roadways

The biggest challenge for the DPW while clearing roads is a car parked in the roadway. In accordance with town bylaws, residents should remove vehicles from the road as early as possible. 

Basketball Hoops

It is also advisable to remove basketball hoops from all roads to prevent damage from plows. 

Try to Stay Off the Roads

During storms, please stay off the roads if at all possible and take precautionary measures if your trip is absolutely necessary. The plows can operate more efficiently if the roads are not cluttered with cars. 

Drive with Caution if You Must Drive During Storms

Residents are requested to stay back far enough so plow operators can see you if backing up. Never pass a plow unless they signal you to go around them. 

Please drive slowly and cautiously in winter weather conditions. Speed is the biggest cause of accidents during snowstorms. Remember that the posted speed limits are for ideal driving conditions. Speeds should be reduced and stopping distances increased during winter months. 

Patience and Kindness Go a Long Way

Please assist your neighbors who cannot shovel and remove snow from sidewalks where possible in front of your property. 

For More Information:

Please call 781-275-7605 if you have any questions or concerns.

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