Another nor’easter has its sights set on southern New England. With snow already piled up from past storms, many residents are no doubt wondering where this next batch — forecast at as many as 9 inches — is going to go. Southborough Department of Public Works Superintendent Karen Galligan says the town is ready, albiet reluctantly so.
“I wish it wouldn’t come,” Galligan said of the storm. “I wish we had a few days of thaw first, but we’ll be ready.”
Galligan said her crew has spent this week preparing for the next onslaught. The challenge she said is not just the amount of snow, but the fact that the snowbanks are so “solid.” Smaller plows like the ones that clear secondary roads and neighborhoods aren’t powerful enough to push back the snowbanks, and they’re not high enough to push snow on top of what’s already there.
So this week the town’s big six-wheeler plows have been out “shelfing” the snowbanks, which means pushing the top of the snowbank back further off the road. Galligan said it helps to widen the road and improve visibility. It also makes a place for new snow to go.
When they haven’t been out cleaning up the roads this week, crews have been working in the machine shop. Galligan said the many storms this winter have done a number on the town’s snow removal equipment.
Many of the plows already need replacement blades. “There’s lots of welding going on,” she said.
The town’s only sidewalk plow is expected to be out-of-commission for this upcoming storm. The machine was significantly damaged while plowing after the last storm when it caught hold of a mattress someone had left out on the sidewalk. “Replacement parts have to come from Canada,” Galligan said. “I tried to rent a replacement, but there just aren’t any available.”
Galligan said she’s heard from many residents that their mailboxes are snowed in and are difficult to access. She said the plows try to get as close to mailboxes as they can without knocking them over, but as the snow builds up it’s harder to clear the area out. Shoveling out in front of your mailbox before the next storm hits can help.