snowy road

Though it has been sunny and above 60 degrees the past few days, last week’s snowfall is a reminder that winter is on the way.

In preparation, the Milton Department of Public Works is planning its operations for the 2020-21 season.

At its Nov. 2 meeting, the Milton selectboard authorized DPW to purchase $200,000 worth of road salt for the town. This money will be used to double the 200 tons of salt already in the shed, for a total of 400 tons, Highway Superintendent Eric Gallas, said during the meeting.

DPW maintains essential services on approximately 101 miles of accepted town roadways, 11 miles of contiguous sidewalk and provides assistance in maintaining public buildings, cemeteries, forests and parks.

“We try to have trucks on the road by 4 a.m. at the latest, for three to four-hour routes, so the roads are ready for the school buses,” Gallas said.

The town of Milton uses a combination of granular salt and magnesium chloride, a liquid de-icer, to remove ice and snow from the roads.

“We watch the weather, we talk about the night before and if for some reason something comes in unexpectedly in the night, Milton police is real good at calling us,” Gallas said.

DPW provided the Independent with the following information and FAQs regarding winter operations:

  1. Reporting Hazardous Road Conditions — During normal business hours, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, hazardous road conditions can be reported to the DPW Office or Town Manager’s Office by calling 893-6655. Outside of normal working hours, please call Police Dispatch at 893-2424.
  2. Winter Parking Ban — Starting Dec. 1, an overnight winter parking ban will be in effect for all Town streets between the hours of 12:00 A.M and 8:00 A.M. This ban is strictly enforced. Vehicles violating the ban may be ticketed or towed if found to be interfering with snow removal operations.
  3. Safe Roads at Safe Speeds — It is important to note that the Town does not have a bare roads policy, and follows the practice of “Safe Roads at Safe Speeds.” During night-time hours, and at temperatures below 18°F, salt used for road de-icing will be less effective. To increase the salt’s effectiveness, magnesium chloride or other deicing agents may be added at colder temperatures. During extended cold weather, it is not uncommon to see snow packed roads for several days.
  4. Plowing snow into or across the Town Right-of-Way (ROW). The plowing, shoveling, or blowing of snow into or across any Town road is prohibited by State Law. Doing so creates unsafe travel conditions. Even small amounts of snow, freezing in the roadway, can cause ice ridges and result in loss of control or damage to a vehicle.
  5. What can be in the Town ROW? — The only items allowed in the Town ROW are driveways and mailboxes. Castles, forts, tunnels and other similar structures are not allowed in roadside snow banks. Basketball hoops, landscape fencing and features, rubbish and recycling containers do not belong in the ROW. These items pose a significant hazard to the safety of our residents as well as our snowplow drivers and equipment. The Town is not responsible for any such items in the ROW which may be damaged.
  6. Our mailbox was damaged by a snowplow; will the Town repair or replace it? Mailboxes can be damaged by snow plowing operations for various reasons, such as poor visibility, the mailbox being buried in a snow bank, the sheer weight/volume of the snow being plowed, or the door of the mailbox being left open and sticking out into the road. The damage is not deliberate and in most cases unavoidable. While mailboxes have a blanket authorization to be located within the ROW, the responsibility to maintain, repair or replace mailboxes lies with the property owner. If a properly installed and maintained mailbox (according to DPW Specifications) is physically struck by the Town’s plow truck, a generic USPS Post Office approved mailbox will be provided at no cost to the property owner.
  7. When will my street get plowed? The first snowplowing priority is our major connectors and Class 2 highways. These are: Westford Road, Everest Road, Sanderson Road, Bear Trap Road, West Milton Road, Middle Road, North Road, East Road, Middle Road, Manley Road, Main Street and Lake Road. Snow and ice removal efforts during major storm events will be concentrated on these highways. The second snowplowing priority are minor collector streets such as Barnum Street, Herrick Avenue, Poor Farm Road, Woodcrest Circle and Hobbs Road. The third priorities are developments, dead end streets, dirt roads and cul-de-sacs. Efficiency of truck movements are designed into our plow routes. It typically takes six to seven hours to complete two removal trips depending on the severity of the storm.
  8. When will the sidewalks be cleared? Sidewalks are cleared after streets have been plowed. The Town does not plow all sidewalks, only those contiguous to the town core. Depending on the severity of a storm, it usually takes about eight hours to plow the entire sidewalk route.
  9. Does the Town add salt to the winter sand pile? No. State regulations required sand piles mixed with salt to be covered, and Milton does not have the infrastructure to keep its sand pile covered. Salt and sand are mixed on an as needed basis.
  10. Can I get sand from the Town for my driveway? Yes. A small sand pile is available to residents and is located near the entrance to the Highway Garage at 15 Ice House Road (next to the dam). Residents are limited to one 5-gallon pail per storm event. Use by and/or for commercial properties, private roads, snow plowing businesses, or property managers is strictly prohibited.

If you have any questions, please contact the Milton Department of Public Works at 802-893-6655. Read DPW's full guidelines for winter operations here

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