Town, village ready for winter-no matter what's coming

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:17

    WARWICK-Last winter was not as bad as the one before, but it still kept the town and village Departments of Public Works on their toes. Forecasts for this coming winter are for a cold and snowy one. That doesn't discourage Jeff Feagles, the town's commissioner of public works, or Steve Sisco, DPW superintendent in the Village of Warwick. Both take their cues from last year — and are planning accordingly. "We are always prepared," Feagles said. "We take the worst season we've had and base it on that. We will be ahead of the game or break even. Either way, we are ready." Last year, Feagles said the town went through 5,000 tons of salt throughout the season. They started out using straight salt on the roads but changed to a mixture of salt and sand. "Mixing the salt and sand is better," Feagles said. "The salt creates a brine, a barrier between the road and the snow. The snow won't stick to the pavement. When we plow it, it scrapes right off." Sisco uses a 70/30 mix of salt to sand on the village streets. While Feagles certainly has a massive job in front of him each time it snows — there are 165 miles of road he is responsible for throughout the town — Sisco doesn't have to just clear the roads. He has to make the snow disappear in the more populated village. "At night, we scrape along all the streets with curbs and dump the snow in Memorial Park," Sisco said. "We do Main Street at night so people can get to the meters in the morning. We try to clear the snow from all of the streets with curbs." Last year saw a shortage of salt midway through the winter. Sisco said he borrowed a couple of loads from the town but quickly replenished his supply. Feagles started mixing salt with sand, in part because of the shortage of salt but also because of the effect the sand has with the salt. After the salt melts the snow and keeps ice from forming, the sand gives traction, something to remember in your own driveway. Both the town and village salt and sand barns are filled to capacity. The town has 6,000 tons of salt in its barn while the village has 200 tons each of salt and sand, with another 400 tons of salt at the ready. Not surprisingly, it will cost a bit more to keep the streets passable this year. The price of salt has jumped from $33 a ton to about $41 this year. Sand, Sisco said, has stayed around the same. And the town and village will have access to the streets and parking areas — it's the law. There is no parking at all on village streets from 2 to 6 a.m. until spring. The town, too, has an ordinance prohibiting overnight parking during inclement weather. If a plow cannot get through, cars will be towed, said Feagles. Village residents must clear their sidewalks within 24 hours of the end of the snowfall. And don't even think about shoveling or blowing the snow into the roadway. "That's not allowed," said Sisco. Both the village and town DPWs have been out already this year clearing the streets. With a small snowfall over the Veteran's Day weekend, it was the first of what may be a very cold, snowy season. They're ready for it.