By Berit Ann Ollestad
Everyone’s had it up to here [insert photo of buried front yard] with snow. Making it go away is the job of the Morristown public works department.
Snow removal is continuing all weekend with up to four crews at a time. How do they decide which streets get tackled first?
“Main roads and secondary roads in town are our priority, and then we are focusing our efforts on streets where residents either don’t have a garage or driveway and are forced to park on the streets,” said Mark Gandy, an engineer with the DPW.
“We are aware that everyone wants their street clean sooner as opposed to later,” he said. “But we are running our guys ragged, and most of them are working 14-18 hours. This weekend we are able to offer them some time off since we are still utilizing two private contractors in town this weekend.”
One DPW employee estimated he had dumped an estimated 25-30 truckloads of snow at the lot on Bishop Nazery Way during his shift Friday.
Photos by Berit Ollestad. Please click icon below for captions.
With snow forecast for Tuesday, crews are trying to prepare for any additional accumulation.
“We have pretty much been in constant communication with the police department and the Mayor about what the next steps will be in order for the town to be as ready as we can be for Tuesday,” Gandy said.
“What is making removal particularly difficult now is the mounds of snow are rock-solid. It’s been warming up during the day and then re-freezing all over again at night.”
In addition to the town’s efforts, the Morristown Partnership and Morristown Parking Authority have a crew working feverishly to free up downtown parking spots for individuals who want to come into town for dinner or shopping.
At the moment, the snow is making it difficult to find valid parking spots in a town challenged with curb-side parking on a good day. (The Parking Authority’s municipal garages remain a good weather-proof option.)
“Unfortunately we have had to tow some cars in town because they make it virtually impossible to clear the streets adequately,” Gandy explained.
“We don’t want to damage the parked cars as we are plowing. Therefore, the plow isn’t able to get too close to the area surrounding the snowed-in car.”
Mayor Tim Dougherty has been urging residents to take advantage of free Morristown Parking Authority garage parking during snowstorms, so plows have unfettered access to streets.
The Mayor even offered to personally shuttle residents home after they garage their vehicles.
Gandy said the town is trying to cut residents as much slack as possible.
“We will only tow if it’s absolutely necessary. We have had a handful of cars here in the town hall parking lot for the last two storms that haven’t moved. We have the option of towing them since they have been parked here for as long as they have. But we have the space here and they aren’t in our way, so we have just left them.”