Chelsea snow clearing crews worked 50-hour stretches with barely any sleep, manning 18 pieces of equipment and – in large part – keeping the roads fairly clear as the storm subsided on Wednesday morning.
DPW Director Joe Foti reported that unofficial snow totals in Chelsea were at 29 inches for the duration of the storm, and that he was very proud of how his crews handled the record-setting blizzard.
There were no major damages reported, he said.
“Right now, the main roads are in great shape,” he said Wednesday morning. “The secondary roads are being salted today. They’re passable, but we’re hoping to salt them and have them down to the asphalt by Thursday…I just want to stress what a great job our guys did. None of them wanted to go home. I understand people will say the workers get paid for it, but this is blood money. This is hard work and they really have a passion for serving and helping out under tremendously difficult circumstances. For what we have and the size of our department, we did a tremendous job. There were guys who had been on the weekend and worked 50 hours straight on maybe four to eight hours sleep tops.”
Foti said his crews never pulled back during the storm as it began to come down ferociously.
“We were strategic about how we attacked this storm since there was so much predicted in such a short time,” he said. “I gave guys breaks in shifts so every single route we had was continuously plowed for the entire duration of the storm. If you pull back an hour, it costs you four hours of makeup time. Some of our big trucks got stuck and we had to use our front-end loader to free them up as it was. We couldn’t afford to have that happen more often.”
Foti said the City brought in four contractors as well to work 30 hours.
He also said he was grateful that the City has invested in equipment for snow plowing, as it was essential in this storm.
“Our equipment was able to hold up through the whole storm,” he said. “I credit a lot of that with Jay Ash, Ned Keefe and the City Council for making sure they invested in the inventory of vehicles we have to make sure we were prepared.”
Foti said that ticketing will begin on Thursday for those who have not shoveled and he also said that residents using space savers need to have them removed by Thursday as well.
“Property owners are required to shovel their sidewalks and sidewalks abutting their properties and that needs to be done by Thursday,” he said. “We’ll be writing violations starting Thursday.”
There were no flooding events reported, nor were there any major injuries or accidents reported during the storm.