Jay Marcotte, Belmont’s newly-installed Director of Public Works, said this past Saturday’s snowfall “was a chance for the department to shake the rust off” its response in preparing and handling the inevitable task for any New England town’s DPW in clearing roads of the white stuff.
“It was only four-and-a-half inches in Belmont and we didn’t have a single resident’s call on our snow hotline,” said Marcotte as he introduced himself to the Belmont Board of Selectmen on Monday morning, Jan. 26.
The Belmont Department of Public Work’s Snow Emergency Hotline: 617-993-2698.
But as a potentially historic nor’easter was barreling towards the region and Belmont, Marcotte – who took over the reins of the department from the retiring Peter Castanino – wasn’t expecting his department to have as easy a go of it as three days previous.
“I suspect the hotline will have a few more calls,” he said, with a smile.
To handle the blizzard, Marcotte and Highway Division Manager Michael Santoro will be marshaling all the division’s assets as well as an army of private contractors to keep at least the main thoroughfares passable for first responders and other essential vehicles.
“It’s all hands on deck,” said Marcotte.
The Highway Division has put out 20 pieces of town-owned equipment clearing roads, including dump trucks, pickups and spreaders beginning at 6 p.m. on Monday. In addition, 37 vehicles from private contractors will be hitting the streets during the height of the storm and afterwards, said Marcotte.
In addition, a tree service is on standby to remove branches and trees that could topple during the storm and heavy equipment from James W. Flett Company and FE French Construction are ready “just in case we need them,” said Marcotte.
The DPW’s primary goal will be “to keep the main drags plowed and treated so medical and other emergency services” can get to their destinations, said Marcotte.
Plowing and treating of secondary and side roads are accomplished “as soon as the department can get to them, he said.
The planning, for tackling a storm “, is the same whether it is 2-inches or 24-inches,” said Marcotte.
“We treat [storms] accordingly to what is expected but we make sure we have a plan ready to go,” he said.