By Nancy Kelly
Berwick’s snow removal equipment was pressed into service when wintery weather descended on the Valley on Dec. 19, and hasn’t spent much time idle since.
The town’s public work staff members were ready and waiting for the first snowfall of the season, which arrived comparatively late.
“We have been ready for weeks now,” said public works foreman Tim Harding.
Berwick stockpiles its own salt and screened sand, which is mixed at the public works shed on an as-needed basis for cost effectiveness and to minimize residents’ wells to salt exposure. The town’s complement of snow removal equipment includes two street plows and sidewalk cleaners and one salt/sander.
Public works manager Gary Gould said the town usually goes through seven 35- metric ton loads of salt each winter, regardless of snow accumulation.
“Temperature fluctuations during the late fall and winter months dictate how much we have to salt and sand the roads. But we are very mindful of using as little salt as possible.”
In the winter of 2011-2012, road crews were kept busy salting and sanding more than they were with plowing.
“But all the equipment has to be maintained and ready to go all winter just in case,” added Gould. “You never know what the winter is going to throw at you.”
Berwick’s parking ban, which came into effect Dec. 1, ensures snow-removal staff can get out to do their jobs when the need arises. Under the by-law, parking is prohibited on “any highway or street in the Town of Berwick between the hours of 1 and 7 a.m.” and “during the period from one hour after any snow storm has commenced to two hours after the storm has stopped.”
The ban remains in place until April 15.