Winthrop Weathers Storm

The first major snowstorm of the 2010-2011 season and the final storm of 2010, was head-on by Winthrop public works crews and private contractors who began fighting the storm during the tail-end of the Christmas weekend last Sunday afternoon and finished u0p around midnight on Monday.

According to Public Works Director Dave Hickey, the town installed a parking ban at 1 p.m. on Sunday and then started plowing and road salting operations at about 2 p.m.

“We started ticketing and towing at around 4 p.m. and then brought the full complement of DPW staff and seven contractors on at 6 p.m.,” said Hickey. “Things were working fairly well until about 2 a.m., when we suffered some street flooding in various places around town including the Short Beach area (at the Revere border), on Winthrop Shore Drive and on Point Shirley. The worst of the flooding lasted until about 4:30 a.m.”

Hickey said there was also some surprising flooding in the area of Washington Avenue between Pico Beach and the Winthrop Lodge of Elks, as well as on Shirley Street from Delby’s Corner (at the corner of Washington Ave.) to Deer Island.

“During the storm we experienced sustained winds of 30 miles per hour for much of the night, and saw a temperature difference of nearly ten degrees between the coastal areas (38 degrees) and downtown (29 degrees),” said Hickey. “The snow was heavy and caused numerous branches and wires to fall. There was a lot of jumping around from problem to problem during the worst of the storm, but more normal plowing operations resumed after the worst of the flooding was over.”

Once the sun started to poke through on Monday, Hickey said that residents and businesses returned to the streets, ultimately slowing down the final clean-up from the storm. As a result, Hickey said the department was forced to complete a final clearing and snow bank push back, which took place between 4 p.m. and midnight on Monday.

“The final clearing and pushback is something we don’t like to do, because storm weary residents and business owners have to go out and re-shovel their walkways and driveway opening afterwards,” said Hickey. “Unfortunately, we felt we really didn’t have a choice, because we wanted to get streets fully opened by Tuesday and with the forecast calling for warmer temperatures throughout the week and possibly rain we needed to get the catch basins opened and cleared as well.”

According to Hickey the town spent about $7,000 on contractor plowing and approximately $8,600 on road salt during the storm, which equates to about 200 tons of salt. Hickey also said the town used 380 man hours of overtime for staff plowing operations.

“This was a long troublesome storm that stretched our workforce as well as our equipment,” said Hickey.

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