Heavy equipment to remove high snowbanks

Heavy equipment from the Southwick Department of Public Works was dispatched early this morning to remove high snowbanks which interfered with drivers visibility. More snow was predicted for today. (Photo by Frederick Gore/The Westfield News)

WESTFIELD, Mass. (The Westfield News) – As more snow fell across the area this morning, most Department of Public Works crews were dispatched to sand and salt roadways again, and to plow as the accumulation continued to mount.

Some crews were taking a different approach to dealing with the snow dumped by recent storms, snow that has been piled up along the roads, causing problems especially at intersections.

“People are having a tough time seeing oncoming traffic at intersection,” Public Works Superintendent Jim Mulvenna said this morning. “I’ve had crews going around knocking down snow banks on corners so people can see at intersections.”

“We got a bunch down this morning,” Mulvenna said. “The plan was to have all of the crews doing that, but I had to put them out sanding and plowing. The latest I’ve heard is that this will be a six to eight inch snowfall.”

The problem with snow bank removal is where to dump the snow after its loaded onto trucks. At one time the city dumped snow on the banks of the Westfield River, but that practice is prohibited by the state Department of Environmental Protection.

“I can’t bring it here (to the DPW yard on South Broad Street),” Mulvenna said. “Right now we’re dumping it in the back of City Hall and at the old Newberry’s site. In the past I’ve dumped it at the Cabot Road property owned by the city.”

Mulvenna said he plans to “hit the downtown area to clean snow off sidewalks up to the curb” tomorrow and deal with complaints about snow banks and sidewalks.

“The police do a really good job in reporting problems with uncleared sidewalks while they’re out patrolling,” Mulvenna said. “If it is at private property, they speak with the resident or business owner. If it’s the city’s responsibility, they let us know.

“The BID has done a pretty good job of keeping sidewalks clear downtown along Elm and Main streets,” Mulvenna said, “and I plan to send crews down there Wednesday to clear the banks.”

Media Credit: The Westfield News

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