For the City of Springfield, last week’s snowstorms almost served as a test run. “Both storms kind of went, I would say, good, you know, school was off, there was less traffic, they were overnight so we had more hours to clean up interfering with other people’s activities. The first storm is always an interesting one every year, working out the bugs,” said John Rooney, Springfield’s Deputy Director of Operations and Maintenance. He knows the cleanup phase is just getting started when the plows first hit the ground. “We’ll take a couple of days after a storm to finish our clean up, we have 7 miles of sidewalks to do, which, also without having school we had plenty of time to get those types of things done. We’re constantly taking calls; I don’t like to call them complaints, but requests for salt and sand,” he added.
If you live on a street that still looks like North Brook Road in Springfield, there’s a reason why there’s still snow all over the place, it’s environmental. “Our black pavement policy is for main arterial roads. We don’t have that same policy for residential streets. The general public doesn’t understand that. The real reason is we don’t use chemicals on residential streets. Chemicals are what gets you down to the black pavement on the main arterial roads,” Rooney said.
He notes that cost is another factor. Budget cuts don’t allow them to go through and re-plow side streets like they used to. However, Rooney reminds you that if you own a home, it’s your responsibility to clear the sidewalk. If there’s a fire hydrant in front of your home, it’s your responsibility to clean that too.
Rooney recognizes that the system isn’t perfect and they’re constantly looking to improve, the DPW is also looking at social media as a way to get the word out about parking bans and snow emergency information.
The total cleanup cost of both snowstorms is estimated at about $300,000.