The town Public Works Department is ready for whatever Mother Nature brings to the area over the next 48 hours or so.
“We’ve got everything lined up,” First Selectman Stephen J. Vavrek said Thursday, just after a meeting with public works personnel. “We’re expecting a lot of snow, and are getting the guys as mobilized the best we can.”
Vavrek, who is serving as public works director on a volunteer basis due to the recent resignation of Douglas Arndt, expects a minimum of a foot of snow to fall throughout town.
Predictions are that the Monroe area could get one to two feet of snow, with heavier amounts in northern and eastern Connecticut from the nor’easter that is moving up the coast. Temperatures also could be a factor when the precipitation begins Friday afternoon, with highs in the mid-30s. Eventually, it will be all snow.
Seventeen plows, but are issues
One issue could be the number of working snowplows available. “We have 17 trucks with plows in varying degrees of capability,” Vavrek said.
Vavrek is expected to include funding to purchase a few more large trucks for the Public Works Department in the new proposed budget he releases early next week. He said the town has “three truck situations” that need to be addressed soon.
“We don’t really need this snowstorm to show us that we’ve got an issue with trucks,” Vavrek said. “Every time it snows like this, it shows our weaknesses.”
Timing is good but costly
Having most of the heavy snow occur on a late Friday into Saturday, as is being forecast, is good timing from the town’s perspective. However, from the financial standpoint, this also means most of the plowing will involve overtime pay.
The town also uses outside contractors if a large amount of snow falls, based on town plowers having trouble keeping up with the snow.
“Hopefully people will keep off the roads,” Vavrek said. “We need people to do what they’ve done in the past — be patient, be safe.”
Vavrek has confidence in the public works employees. “These guys are used to this,” he said. “They are professionals and a dedicated crew.”
Monroe has 140 miles of town-maintained roads. The state maintains — and therefore plows — five state roads that run through Monroe: Route 25, Route 34, Route 59, Route 110 and Route 111.