Along the shoreline, NBC Connecticut states measurable snow in October has only occurred once in the last 100 years.
For Branford’s Public Works Director Art Baker who is entering his second snow season with the town, history is no indication of their preparedness. “By the end of the day,” Baker said yesterday afternoon, “we’ll have every truck ready to go.”
Public Works has prepped and prepared its fleet of 18 plow trucks loading them with a sand/salt mixture and getting the engines warm should the predicted perception tonight into Sunday turn white.
“I’m hoping our pavement temperatures will support a mostly rain event,” said Baker. Of the threat of this rare October snow, he said, “I’m hoping it doesn’t come to us.”
Branford like many towns across the state were scrambling yesterday to prepare for a possible snowfall.
In speaking with other town department heads, Baker said, “I don’t if anyone can prepare for an end of October storm.” The people up north in Hartford county, said Baker, could contend with up to 12 inches of heavy, heavy snow. “I think our problems down here are going to be less significant but let’s see what happens,” he said. for more northern regions of the state.
Branford is also in a bit of scramble as their new salt shed was just erected on Thursday. As of yesterday afternoon, Baker was still waiting to fill the shed with 200 tons of Ice B’Gone, a new salt the department is using.
currently operates out of a ; the former earlier this year to make way for the . The in the demolition.
The new, white, 45- by 50-foot salt shed was erected at the for Public Works crews to use; it will remain there during PWD stay at their temporary facility. The new salt shed can house 600 tons of material.
Baker shares that Public Works is transitioning from their sand/salt mixture this season and will exclusively use Ice-B-Gone, a salt-only material, when the old supply is depleted. Ice B’Gone is a better product, said Baker, and prevents the plows from rusting. Ice B’Gone was used by the department last year on some of the town’s northern roads, according to PWD Highway Supervisor Jack Kerpen. Ice B’Gone is a sand-free material that makes for easier clean-up come spring and is more environmentally friendly for the town’s watercourses.
There are 600 tons of the old sand/salt mixture left and given last year’s total spread of 3,000 tons, Baker is confident the department will use up the old supply in no time – especially if the first snow of the season is this weekend.
For an average storm, Baker said the plow trucks spread 100 to 150 tons of sand across Branford’s 105 miles of roadway. During some of the larger storms last season, the trucks spread as many as 300 tons and during the small snow coverings, they spread just 60 to 80 tons.
So whether Branford is faced with a history-making event this weekend and the town wakes to snow on Sunday morning or it’s a lot of hoopla for nothing, it’s good to know that the snowfighters are ready and raring to go.
IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM PUBLIC WORKS
Sand for Public
Sand is available for the public to take for private use. You can stop by the Public Works Department at 137 North Branford Rd., anytime to take sand in 10-gallon buckets. Residents are not allowed to haul sand in pick-up truck beds. Contractors are not allowed to take sand for commercial use. A town ordinance forbids this and a fine will be issued for those who violate the policy.
If you see Public Works Department trucks driving around with their plows up but there’s snow on the ground, they are doing it for a reason. Ice B’Gone is spread before the snow falls and must mix with 1 to 1.5 inches of snow in order to work. The roadway, despite the snow, will have traction for cars is passable. Public Works plow drivers will wait until the proper amount of snow has fallen before plowing when using Ice B’Gone.