An exhausted Andy Pappastergion stood before the Board of Selectmen after a long weekend of blizzard clean up. Pappastergion requested funding to repair damages on Rangley Road and Princeton Road near Newton Street, LeGrange Street and Beverly Road in the amount of $569,000 for this spring. This money will be repaid back to the Commonwealth.
The DPW had their hands full this past weekend. “This was a particularly intense storm,” Pappastergion said. “The overnight hours between Friday and Saturday were something I’ve never seen before. It was a combo of hurricane and snowstorm. This was certainly a blizzard and it lived up to its reputation.”
The DPW battled snow falling at three inches per hour at one point. “Under whiteout conditions, it’s tough to see what you’re doing. We sent frontend loaders to pull our smaller plows out of snow banks,” Pappastergion said. “We have had 18 inches of snow prior to this past weekend. We got 26 inches, which brings our total to 44 inches which is how much we normally budget for.”
The Board happily approved the funding.
Pappastergion said that 127 DPW workers and 40 private contractors were out battling the blizzard during the height of the storm. Overall, only 15 residents lost power, which was far less than what the DPW had estimated. The DPW towed 21 vehicles.
The State ban on driving worked, according to Pappastergion, who said that no one was cited for driving past 4 p.m. on Friday. The emergency operation center was activated on Friday and was open until Saturday, which is a hub for DPW, emergency and towing.
“We have different phases of cleanups. The initial clean up for most storms takes about six to 12 hours. This storm took 30 hours,” Pappastergion said. “That’s not even the extended clean up. When you have people working around the clock like that, you have to give them down time as a matter of safety.” The operations center offered food and places to sleep for workers. Snow removal teams began attacking snow banks last night and will continue to do so tonight.
“This was a historic storm,” Mel Kleckner said. “I want to congratulate the commissioner and the men and women who work with him on this.”