Above: The tractor is fixed with an “industrial snow thrower,” which shoots snow into a dump truck on Main Street Tuesday night.
Town workers clear snow from Main Street sidewalks, parking lanes overnight
It wasn’t exactly a stealth operation – after all, it took a host of large, noisy trucks to get it done – but the town conducted a magic trick of sorts Tuesday night, making tons of snow virtually disappear. The town hasn’t needed to perform this particular magic trick in a couple of years since it requires a significant snowfall. Cue the Saturday blizzard.
The sidewalks of Main Street are tight in the best of weather. Add 20 inches of snow, plus the snow that gets pushed from the street to the parking lane and onto the sidewalk, and pedestrians are forced to climb and trudge their way along. There’s no place for the snow to go. For a street reliant on foot traffic, that ain’t good. Plus, some of the snow piles at corners cut down on drivers’ visibility.
In times like these, the town pulls out its industrial snow thrower – that’s actually the name. The IST (my acronym) basically mows the snow up into a shoot that is then directed into a dump truck alongside. Several dump trucks line up behind the IST and one-by-one they get filled, then they head over to the upper parking lot at the town boat launch on Crompton Avenue, drop the snow, then head back to do it all again. And again. And again.
While that’s happening on one side of Main Street, a couple of bobcats and a few guys with shovels are working the other side of the street, moving snow from smaller spaces onto the street so the IST can pick it up.
The operation Tuesday took all night, starting at 10 p.m. and going through to 7 a.m. Wednesday. The all hands on deck nature of the job pulled employees from the Department of Public Works, the Parks Department and even one employee from the Planning Department – 19 men in all. Highway Director Jim Fogell took the lead, walking (and walking) on the sidewalk next to the IST, making sure it was in the right position and giving the head’s up to each waiting dump truck to move up alongside.
It’s a long night but fast-paced and exciting too, said Fogell. The challenge is finishing before the morning rush. “We have many times we don’t stop for one minute during the night.”
EG Chamber Director Steve Lombardi spoke for a lot of us when he said, “The EG Chamber appreciates the great job the Town of East Greenwich did Tuesday on Main Street with the snow removal.”