I had another ride in a town plowtruck during last Friday's snowstorm, this time with Denny Westover behind the wheel. His route takes in some of our town's higher and more remote byways, such as Ledge Hill Road and Boyle Road. As before, I was impressed with Denny's knowledge and expertise. It was a great experience and I'd like to thank him for having me along.
As you might know, our Town Shed dates from the 1950s, when the town's trucks were both fewer and smaller. It's always amazing to watch them park today's big tandem trucks in there. They have to squeeze them in at an angle and there's barely a few inches to spare at either end. Working in that space when all the trucks are parked is a real challenge. Not only are today's trucks much bigger, but since the shed was built the town had to absorb all the village's trucks, equipment, and tools, after the village was abolished as a separate entity.
The town's main snow armory is the three big tandem plowtrucks, which clear the 13.1 miles of county roads and the 5.8 miles of state roads contracted to the town, in addition to the 41.25 miles of town roads (double the mileage, of course, to account for both lanes.) A single-axle dumptruck is used for plowing residential streets, and two pickup trucks for the smaller streets. The pickups also do the water and sewage plants for Wadhams and Westport, the Visitors Center, and Depot Theatre/Train Station. (There's a pickup without a plow, which is used by DPW Superintendent Jerry Sherman.) A small tractor with a snowblower is used to clear the sidewalks. The front-end loader loads the trucks and is often used for snow removal or for pushing back snowbanks, which has happened a lot this year. The grader can also be used for pushing back snowbanks, though the recent snowmelt stopped them from having to bring it out.
Thank you to the many readers who've said they enjoy learning about all that our town employees do for us. More installments of the Town Shed Chronicles to come.