Public Works Braves The Elements


s2By Terry Rogers

The recent arctic cold blast combined with two snowstorms in as many weeks have kept the City of Milford Public Works Department busy. With snow comes the need to clear roads, protect electric lines and other tasks to keep the city operational even when the weather does not cooperate. While most citizens are warm in their homes, city employees must brave the elements to keep city services working so those homes remain warm.

“When snow or ice is predicted in the area, preparations at Public Works include everything from ensuring we have enough ice melting salt in stock, gasoline and diesel fuel tanks are topped up, dump trucks, snow plows and backhoes are operational, salt spreaders and snow blowers are ready to go,” said Brad Dennehy, Public Works Director for the City of Milford. “We also ensure that any other equipment which may possibly be required, such as chainsaws and pumps, are also ready. Personnel-wise, we take individuals from various Public Works departments and assign them extra duties, which may be anything from plowing snow to shoveling sidewalks.”

One concern that many citizens have when severe weather is predicted is that electric service will remain operational throughout the storm. According to Mr. Dennehy, there were no electric outages during the recent storms, and he attributes that to the City of Milford’s Electric Department, stating that their “ongoing commitment to the maintenance of our system” is the primary reason for the lack of outages during high winds, frigid air temperatures and drifting snow, which Mr. Dennehy said made the most recent storm so difficult.

“It is always a challenge to get the streets and municipal parking lots cleared off as soon as possible, to maintain access to the hospital, police and fire departments,” Mr. Dennehy said. “We also must keep the main arterial routes in and out of the city, and this was especially difficult with the extreme cold and blowing wind. The City of Milford has approximately 40 miles of streets plus municipal parking lots, which must be plowed and cleared off, and it is a balancing act to get this done with the number of personnel we have available and the pieces of equipment at our disposal. The guys always end up working long, hard hours to ensure this occurs, and they are a credit to the City of Milford.”

Mr. Dennehy explained that there are things that citizens can do to make things easier for Public Works employees when snowstorms and other bad weather occurs.

“The City of Milford Public Works appreciates citizens remaining off the roads when these events occur, as it allows our crews to do their jobs more effectively,” Mr. Dennehy said. “We would also like to remind people to check to see if they live on a snow emergency route, and, if they do, remind them to please remove their vehicle from the snow route prior to the event occurring in order for the street to be plowed.”