–By Joseph Domelowicz
For the Transcript
As the second blizzard of the 2010-11 winter season was ramping up to batter Winthrop and the region, town public works staff and a contingent of private contract plows, prepared to do battle with the storm in an effort to keep Winthrop streets clear and safe for emergency vehicles.
According to Public Works Operations Manager Steve Calla, who oversaw the exodus of plowing and salting equipment from the garage, town drivers began salting, or pre-treating streets at about 2 a.m. on Wednesday morning and the full staff of drivers was on duty at 5 a.m. to begin plowing roads.
As of press time, with more than six inches of snow having already fallen across most of the region, town workers were expecting the storm to last until late afternoon or early evening on Wednesday at the earliest.
Depending on the length and severity of the storm, the town may catch a break in fighting the storm, as most of it will take place during normal town hours anyway.
“But we did have four hours of overtime at the beginning of the storm and we’ll probably still have to have guys on after 3:30 p.m., so there will probably be some additional overtime after the storm,” explained Calla. Still, that scenario could be better for the town than the previous storm, when a full staff of town workers and contract trucks worked throughout the weekend and nighttime hours during the bulk of a storm that dumped almost 18 inches of snow on Winthrop starting the day after Christmas.
For residents, the preparation for this storm actually began on Tuesday evening, when the Winthrop Police declared a snow emergency effective at 10 p.m. on Tuesday night meaning all vehicles had to be removed from town streets, to make room for snow plows or risk being towed.
The town’s Code Red emergency notification system to residents placed calls to all registeredresidents of the town at about 5 p.m. on Tuesday warning them of the parking ban and alerting residents that normal trash pick-ups scheduled for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of this week would all be delayed by one day, as town officials re-scheduled the trash pick-up to keep as many unnecessary vehicles as possible off the streets during the plowing operations.
Also, earlier on Tuesday, Winthrop Police reminded residents and business owners in town that failure to comply with the town’s snow and ice removal by-law would result in a fine (see related story).