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City ramps up snow removal efforts

GLOVERSVILLE — Department of Public Works crews were out overnight Tuesday into this morning clearing snow citywide as part of the beefed-up response to snow and ice control launched this season.

“Obviously right now we’re plowing and salting as we speak,” said DPW Director Christopher Perry during Tuesday’s Common Council meeting as a snowstorm moved through the area.

The National Weather Service on Tuesday issued a winter weather advisory for Fulton and Montgomery Counties that remained in effect until 10 a.m. today for the storm that was expected to drop total snow accumulations of 4 to 8 inches and cause slippery road conditions.

Perry reported city staffing had been ramped up to the extent possible for Tuesday’s snowstorm, acknowledging that the department is currently short-staffed overall due to the coronavirus. Currently two staffers are out with confirmed positive coronavirus cases while two other staff members are absent due to mandatory quarantines.

“We’re down a couple drivers operationally for salt trucks, but everyone who can drive is going to be in all night to deal with the storm event and I’m confident that they’ll do a good job,” said Perry.

Perry developed a new snow and ice control strategy ahead of winter to increase passes by snow plows over each street in the city with the goal of ensuring all roadways are passable during active snow events and afterwards.

The strategy also accounts for more frequent passes over hills and the most heavily trafficked streets as part of the overall mission to provide safer streets citywide during winter storms.

DPW crews can make more frequent runs over city streets with the new combination snow plow and salt vehicles that were secured by the city ahead of this winter allowing simultaneous prevention and cleanup measures.

Ahead of this week’s storm, Perry noted that DPW crews were active hauling away snowbanks downtown and from city owned parking lots, as well as hauling snow from the city’s narrowest and most heavily traveled side streets to ensure adequate snow storage capacity as the season progresses.

Crews also removed snowbanks from the corners of 34 intersections in the city to promote safety by maintaining adequate sightlines.

Additionally, Perry reported DPW staff recently went through the city to patch any existing potholes on streets, while also revisiting larger potholes that chronically open throughout the winter.

“We’ve made a pass through the whole city and everything that we’ve come across has been patched,” said Perry. “We’ve been patching the chronic areas as they open up again.”

The Common Council in December applauded the new strategies for snow and ice control implemented by Perry after seeing the DPW’s response to the record-breaking snowfall event on Dec. 16 and 17 that saw 26 inches of snow dumped on the city in 24 hours.

Council members pointed to the effort from DPW crews during that storm as an accomplishment, saying that despite the size of the event most streets were cleared down to the pavement by the following day. However, there were still complaints from some residents over social media regarding side streets that were not cleared of snow immediately following the storm.

Mayor Vincent DeSantis today said the DPW’s new strategy was effective again during the overnight storm as crews working through the night were largely able to keep up with the falling snow.

“It went very well, it’s mostly bear pavement out there and they’re still working,” said DeSantis this morning.

DeSantis pointed to the city’s new equipment that allows crews to simultaneously plow and salt streets as enhancing the efficiency of cleanup efforts and of manpower, allowing the DPW to deploy a snow removal crew overnight to be followed up by a fresh crew during the day.

“That was particularly useful in this snowfall,” said DeSantis of the effort by DPW crews.

Deploying separate snow removal crews prevents dead time when staff members would otherwise require a break for at least a few hours before hitting the streets again, potentially allowing snow to accumulate during the gap in activity.

As of this morning, DeSantis said he had not received any reports of issues related to the storm or the ongoing snow removal efforts.

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