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Snow Removal Marathon to Continue Until Wednesday

The race to remove two feet of snow started Friday morning with blizzard preparation.

 

Snow depths left by Friday and Saturday's blizzard have made clean-up a marathon for Swampscott Department of Public Works crews digging out, a marathon that will likely continue to the end of the day on Wednesday.

Late in the day Monday the clean-up phase moved to removing snow from dead-end streets, said DPW Director Gino Cresta.

The final phases also include removing snow from sidewalks around schools and from high and wide snowbanks at tricky intersections including those on Burrill.

The National Weather Service's unofficial snowfall totals at the end of the blizzard were 27 inches for Lynn, 25 inches for Salem and 23 inches for Marblehead. The service listed no total for Swampscott but it looks like its snowfall fell in that range.

Hacking away at miles and mountains of snow, and salting and sanding roads, with the department's 15 crew members and the contractors who assist them demands prioritization, the DPW director said.

Crews started clearing main streets first then moved to streets used as cut-throughs before lowering their plow blades on side streets. The last clean-up phases include digging out dead ends and sidewalks around schools and town properties.

On Monday morning DPW had a lot of messages from residents, about 48, including some that came from residents who said they hadn't seen a truck on their street, the director said.

The director tells callers that, in those cases, the reason they haven't seen a plow is because the trucks are plowing according to the department's plan.

In the first stages during a blizzard, keeping main roads clear is a major task, specially when upwards of three inches an hour hits the ground, he said.

The blizzard battle started with crews arriving to work to prepare for it Friday at 7 a.m., long before the first flakes fell later in the day.

Their work continued until Saturday night at 10. That's 39 hours including a four-hour break after the 24-hour mark, the director said.

The crews returned on Sunday at 8 a.m. and worked util 11 p.m.

By Monday morning, some of the department's 15 members were so sleep deprived that they did not make it to work. A core of nine crew members arrived to pull double shifts, working to 11 p.m. Monday

Double shifts are planned for Tuesday, as well.

The DPW director has been working those hours, as well.

The key to staying awake?

Hot coffee, cold air and cat naps when they get their breaks, said the DPW director.

Michael DeLisio, general manager of Dunkin' Donuts at Vinnin Square, got the crews started with hot coffee, delivering five gallons to the DPW garage on Friday. 

If people are blocked in or have other problems they are encouraged to report them to DPW by calling 781-596-8860, the director said.

Mimi February 12, 2013 at 08:09 PM
I hope the town can also remove the snow from areas where parents park for drop-off and pick-up around the schools because it is too dangerous right now for children and parents to walk to school. The sidewalks are not clear and children have to walk in the street when the streets are at their busiest. I also urge resdients to clear their sidewalks, many are not clear. Also make paths wide enough for strollers to fit through. I know plows can make difficult areas to clear - but it is worth the effort to save the life of a child.

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