Saturday, April 20, 2024

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Highway Superintendent and Crews in Eye of Storm

By Dave Matlow

When the going gets rough on Westport roadways, Highway Superintendent Scott Sullivan and his men in Westport’s Public Works Department Highway Division are in the thick of it. Today they were out doing what they do best—battling high winds and blowing snow.WestportNow.com Image
A truck leaves the Westport Department of Public Works facility on the Sherwood Island Connector late today to do some plowing and spreading of salt. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Sullivan was at his command post in the Public Works garage on the Sherwood Island Connector orchestrating a fleet of 14 town trucks as they struggled to keep Westport’s 123 miles of roads open as a blizzard bore down on the Northeast.

The trucks, backed by a number of local contractors, are plowing and spreading a salt mix on roadways and will operate 24 hours a day until the job is done, he said.

There are no shifts—the same drivers will work throughout the night with breaks for food and rest.  Each truck has a capacity of about eight tons of salt mix and “in a storm such as this, we might fill some trucks three or four times,” Sullivan said.

“Overall, we expect to spread about 200 tons of salt mix before it’s all over.”

Sullivan said his data shows there will be a minimum of 12 inches of accumulation with a possibility of as much as 20 inches. 

“It’s coming down now at somewhere between one and three inches each hour,” he said.

Sullivan said that his biggest challenge is “keeping the public off the roads and not parking in the street when they have a driveway to park in.”

He said that another challenge is the landscapers “when they push the snow back on the roads after we’ve already cleaned the roads.” 

While no one likes bad weather that can lead to accidents and other emergencies, Sullivan and his workers obviously take pride in being well prepared to battle the elements.

“Our trucks are in good shape,” he said. “We performed very good maintenance this past summer.”

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