Along with the rest of New England, Colchester residents have been struggling under intense winter storms this past week. Students and skiers rejoiced at the prospect of a snow day while the rest of us monitored the weather forecasts and hunkered down. With winter on everyone’s minds, it’s an appropriate time to turn our attention to our Department of Public Works (DPW). Here at the Town we recognize DPW employees as unsung heroes whose work is often under-appreciated and always vital. Recently the snowfall has put the DPW to the test. To put this winter’s impact on personnel and material in perspective, let’s compare some statistics from the last three years:
- 43 events (an “event” is weather that necessitates plowing/salting)
- 887 tons salt and 1068 cubic yards sand used
- Employee overtime (OT) stats not available
Winter 2015-16 was remarkably mild:
- 22 events
- 578 tons salt and 586 cubic yards sand used
- 510 hours of OT worked
Winter 2016-17, to date:
- 40 events
- 1255 tons salt and 1316 cubic yards sand used
- 977 hours of OT worked
Colchester’s Public Works has twelve full time employees who maintain Town roads, two mechanics who maintain vehicles, along with an Operations Manager who oversees all the activity. Equipment includes six large trucks that plow main arteries, two one-ton trucks that plow narrower residential streets and cul-de-sacs, and one pick-up truck for cul-de-sacs only. Mother Nature sets the schedule and DPW personnel may work late into the night or start their day as early as 2 AM – and sometimes both.
The next time snow falls we hope you’ll remember the Colchester employees who work literally around-the-clock for the community’s safety and convenience. For them a snow day never means a day off!