The following was posted on December 26, 2010 in the wake of a massive winter storm that caused blizzard-like conditions in Attleboro. During that time, city employees hit the streets to clear roads and many residents were left powerless and indoors.
What do you remember about the post-Christmas storm of 2010? Tell us in comments
Posted Dec. 26, 2010:
By Patricia Resende
City snow plows and sanders are blowing through city streets in an effort to keep up with the winter storm, which has already dumped several inches of snow in Attleboro causing blizzard-like conditions.
"All my drivers are out," said DPW Foreman Bobby Araujo as he was getting ready to leave the Wall Street DPW yard at 7pm to join the fleet of nearly 90 trucks on the road. "The snow is coming down about an inch per hour."
Asked if drivers are reporting back to him about the poor road condtions, Araujo said: "They don't do that, they drive and get the job done."
As residents were relaxing on the day after Christmas, the folks at the Department of Public Works were busy organizing the logistics of how to tackle the impending storm.
For weeks, the DPW has been preparing its list of contractors that are hired by the city to clear the snow from city streets.
"As far as contractors, we have been ready for weeks," said Araujo, who has worked for the DPW for 23 years, five of which as foreman. "I have 43 contractors on board, which equals close to 60 trucks on the roads.
Araujo is confident in both the number of people he has hired and the quality of work they do.
"We are lucky that we get a lot of the same contractors back each year who keep the same routes," he said.
With 30 to 40 pieces of city-owned equipment such as backhoes, loaders and sanders, Araujo is confident that the city is well equipped and prepared to tackle the blizzard. That equipment is coupled with the 60 or so contractor plows that will be out on the road beginning today and through tomorrow afternoon.
As of 9 a.m. trucks were already dropping sand on city streets. They'll be dumping the sand/salt mixture throughout the day and into the morning, according to the DPW. "For an average storm we'll go through 800 tons of sand/salt," Araujo said from the DPW office as workers popped their heads in to ask about fuel, mixture and equipment.
The city's snow plan is to have several contractors hit the city's main, secondary and neighborhood streets simultaneously. Residents should be advised that the trucks first clear a path making the roads accessible, especially for police and fire emergencies.
Araujo said he receives several calls from residents during storms about streets that are not completely cleared. "When you are experiencing 15 to 18 inches of snow, the trucks need to come in and clear a path," Araujo said. "They are blowing through and making the road accessible first, then they'lll be back to clean it up once the storm is over."
Attleboro streets that do not have to be cleared are those of new developments where the street has not yet been "accepted" by the city."If the plat has been asphalted and manholes are not sticking up, we don't mind going in the area and cleaning it up," Araujo said. Streets, however, that include raised manhole covers are not cleared because they ruin the equipment and pose a danger to drivers.
While Araujo would be happy spending the day after Christmas at home with his family watching football, he is committed to clearing the streets of Attleboro. "On a day like today I'd like to be home sitting with my family than in a plow truck, but we are here because it is our job to be here."
City Council President Frank Cook has seen first hand how hard the DPW works to tackle a storm of this magnitude and that is why he and his wife, Sandy, stopped by the DPW to bring the men coffee and donuts.
"It is a token of appreciation for what they're doing and how hard they work," Cook said.