Mild Winter is a Boon: Town’s Snow and Ice Budget Appear to Be in Good Shape

With virtually no snowfall to speak of during the first two months of Winter, new Public Works Director Steve Calla has to feel that he’s leading a charmed life, especially when considering that last year at this point his predecessor, Dave Hickey, was in the midst of one of the worst winters on record.

“Obviously, it’s been a lot milder winter this year for me, than last year was,” said Calla this week.

Indeed, during the winter of 2010-2011, the Winthrop snow and ice removal budget had already been impacted by at least six plowable snow storms and several other road de-icing operations, that left the public works department over budget for snow removal heading into the snowiest month of the winter.

“This year, other than some repairs we needed to make to icing and snow plow equipment, and which came out of the snow removal budget, we’ve had to make almost no expenditures out of that budget,” continued Calla. “

Gearing up and  planning for spring

However, just because there haven’t been any snow storms so far in 2012, doesn’t mean that things are quiet at DPW.

According to Calla, the department is getting ready to go out to bid for its major roadway and infrastructure improvement project for 2012, which is known internally as “Contract 3.”

Calla explained that Contract 3 will be a major $3 to $3.2 million omnibus procurement to complete drainage work at Ingleside Park, water and sewer work on Walden, Lincoln and Read streets, as well as Walden Place and roadway and sidewalk improvements to the public portion of Governor’s Drive, Locust Street and Summit Avenue and improvements to the tot lot at Ingleside Park, re-orientation of the ball field at Ingleside Park in a North-South layout, as opposed to the current east-west configuration and repaving of the parking lot and access road between the middle school and the park.

“This project will affect several neighborhoods and be the biggest construction project of the upcoming season,” said Calla. “We’re very excited about it.”

Calla said the procurement process for Contract 3 will likely be put out to bid in mid-April and hoping to award a contract in early May.

Two smaller projects also being prepared for the spring are the completion of roadway and sidewalk improvements to Bellevue, Somerset and Nahant streets, which was begun last year and the grant-funded improvements to Dawes Playground, which will be partially supplemented by community effort to install the new equipment that will be purchased with the grant funds.

“We’re expecting to complete the Dawes project the same way we completed work to the school yard, using public works equipment and donated time and time from community members to install the new equipment,” said Calla.

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