Director Says DPW is Ready Whenever Snow Arrives

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Snow plow in Bedford Center from January 2022. Courtesy Image.

It’s not a matter of “if,” but “when.”

Forecasts indicate that Bedford will experience rain from the approaching major weather system on Friday.

But Department of Public Works Director David Manugian believes that snow is inevitable, and he said the equipment and crews are ready. 

“The inch or so we received Sunday night gave us a chance to get the salting trucks out and run the equipment,” Manugian said in an email. “Fortunately, we only had very minor issues that we were able to resolve quickly.”

The DPW has 22 pieces of equipment “ready for use in any storm,” Manugian said, backed by 15 pieces available from local contractors.  

“Over the last few years, we’ve focused on hiring a range of contracted equipment,” Manugian said. “Larger pieces, like dump trucks or loaders, give us more flexibility in certain areas while the standard trucks can cover a larger area.” 

Whenever a storm becomes “more than a salting event, we’ll scale up based on the number of inches expected as well as the rate the snow is falling,” Manugian said. “Generally, the Highway Division will start the process, then will be supported by the Grounds Division. Next, we add in the Sewer and Water Divisions, and finally, we call in contractors.”  

The salt shed off Carlisle Road holds approximately 1,500 tons of salt and is filled up to start the winter, Manugian wrote. “For small storms, we use our salting fleet of six large dump trucks,” the director wrote. “In addition to salt spreaders, these trucks have large 11-foot plows and underbody scraper blades. Four of our salt trucks have wing plows as well.” 

“We do spray liquid calcium on the salt we put on the road. It reacts with the salt to make it melt ice faster,” Manugian added.

Earlier this month, the Select Board accepted a bid for rock salt of $70.47 per ton – up from $62.35 a year ago. Town officials said the price was favorable because Bedford was part of a cooperative bidding effort with other towns.

The DPW director explained in his email, “A large storm event has a number of phases. While it is snowing, our main goal is to keep roads open for emergency vehicles. As the snow tapers down, we clear around the schools and widen the roads for general traffic.”  

This first phase often runs between 24 and 36 hours, he continued, “and ends with a chance for the staff to finally catch some sleep. The next phase includes clearing sidewalks leading to schools, the downtown, and then collector roads, in that order. Finally, areas such as the Minuteman Bikeway and Narrow-Gauge Rail Trail are cleared.” 

“Residents should not park on the streets or in public lots during a storm,” Manugian wrote. (Actually, all-night street parking is prohibited year-round. Police have been reminding violators in various neighborhoods with written warnings placed on cars over the past few weeks.)

Manugian also noted that sand is available for residential pickup in the parking lot at the entrance to Springs Brook Park off Springs Road. “Residents should keep in mind that if we’re out salting or plowing on a Wednesday or Saturday, then the compost center will not be open that day,” he said.

More details are posted on the DPW website, https://www.bedfordma.gov/465/Winter-Operations


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