Covered in snow… and ice
The Village of Patchogue was blizzard ready despite a wet, icy winter storm that made for difficult plowing conditions. Joe Dean, department of public works supervisor, had his guys out as early as 5 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 9, preparing the roads with salt.
According to Dean, the village has about 40 lane miles, which were in need of major cleanup after being hit with about 8 to 12 inches last Thursday. He said it took about 35 snow removal workers, including some contracted, to get the job done. About 10 shoveled snow, a few operated snow removal equipment to clear sidewalks and alleyways, two were mechanics repairing equipment as it broke down and the rest were plowing.
“A wet, heavy snow like we just had and as much of it as we had is pretty rough on the equipment,” he explained. “But we were prepared. Snow removal takes a lot of preparation and we began in the fall. We reviewed all the equipment and made repairs as needed. We have contingency plans based on snowfall amounts, conditions and what day of the week snow falls.”
After about 17 hours of work, all roads were open, sanded and salted. DPW headed home and returned for more snow removal the next day, Feb. 10 at about 5 a.m. Snow was removed and brought to off-site locations. Operations ended Friday at about 3:30 p.m. and resumed Saturday morning at about 4 a.m. for more sanding and salting. The village also temporarily closed streets to remove the remaining snow through Monday.
According to Mayor Paul Pontieri, he was happy with DPW and felt the guys did a great job. He said a few residents were upset, but might not have realized how difficult the job really was.
“First it rained, then it turned to sleet and snow and froze. There was about a half-inch or more worth of solid ice that you just can’t plow,” he explained. “All it does is damage the equipment. But we kept attending to it and it cleared up.”
David Kennedy, executive director of the Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce, said the village communicated with the businesses about their snow removal plans and even discussed what nights would be best to shut down Main Street.
“I think the village did the best that they could under very difficult circumstances,” he said. “For the most part, we were able to conduct business as usual.”
Deputy mayor Jack Krieger during the last board meeting held on Monday, Feb. 13 said cleanup efforts were also hindered by the situation of too many cars parked on Main Street, even after a state of emergency was declared.
“There are a few culprits [bars] that stay open and disregard the state of emergency,” he told Kennedy, without naming the businesses. “The plows can’t do their job properly when there are cars staying overnight and then dumping the snow on the road when they dig out … it’s a reoccurring problem.”
Krieger said during the next snowstorm the village would have to be more aggressive, meaning any cars parked on the street would be ticketed and/or towed. Kennedy agreed and said he would get the word out.
“We need to get the streets clear by plowing curb to curb without going around cars,” added Krieger. “I would prefer they didn’t stay open at all, but everyone has been warned.”
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