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Public Works managing recent storms

December 05, 2018
Town officials say the Gilford's Public Works Department has been doing what they can to clear snow after the recent storms with the recent storm especially challenging.

Public Works Director Jason Hayden gave the board of selectmen an update on his department on Wednesday, including a description of winter maintenance. Hayden said the department has responded to three winter weather events that have involved substantial snowfall.

All 15 major pieces of snow fighting equipment were inspected, repaired, and tested by Oct. 1 with snow tires on all town vehicles by Nov. 1.

"They worked hard this year on that. I can't commend them enough for being proactive," Hayden said.

The highway department is applying brine solution to prevent ice buildup on roadways. He said two of the plow trucks have the pre-wetting solution and a third one is in the process. They have applied 1,700 gallons of brine solution since receiving the brine machines.

In addition to the work by the Highway Department Buildings and Grounds has been doing winter maintenance. During all three snow events, the department has taken care of all the walkways and entrances at municipal buildings.

Selectman Chan Eddy said they have heard complaints after the recent storm from people who said they did not get their roads cleared right away. He asked Hayden to explain the process that goes into winter clean-up.

Hayden said last year Public Works prepared a PowerPoint presentation on snow clearing operations that is available on the town website with physical copies available at the Public Works Department.

"I actually got a lot of good reviews on that last year where people would comment after reading it, saying, 'Hey we had no clue on what goes on,'" Hayden said.

Regarding the snowstorm the day before, Hayden said that storm in particular was one of the most difficult he has ever dealt with.

"Maybe not due to depths of snow or different types of precipitation, but the downed trees, the roads that we could not get down, the trees that blocked a major route that actually allow us to access what would be the east part of Gilford," Hayden said.

With the heavy, wet snow Cherry Valley Road has multiple trees and power lines down, which blocked sections of the road. As a result, they had to take plow routes that weren't as efficient with time such as through Alton. He said when trucks go out they have to come back to get fuel and replenish their salt supply.

"I was on the roads all day yesterday, and I think we handled all the emergencies very well," Hayden said.

Hayden said he has been doing this job for 25 years, and Gilford has a great crew. He said overall the nature of the work doesn't allow for roads to be perfectly clear during a whole storm and it might be a number of hours before a plow passes the same area.

"I understand when people look outside and they see snow on the road, I hope they don't anticipate the road being black throughout the storm," Hayden said. "That just doesn't happen."

Selectman Richard Grenier said he wanted the word to get out more, especially in local papers, about the work that goes into clearing snow and why the roads will not be pristine during a storm.

North Country Environmental
Martin Lord Osman
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