WALLINGFORD — Prepping for a snowstorm is no small feat — just ask the team at Wallingford Public Works.
The Record-Journal met up with Steve Palermo, public works superintendent, and Mike Perrelli, maintainer, earlier this month as they prepared for a snow and ice storm.
Q: What is the snowstorm preparation work?
Palermo: For a bigger storm our drivers come in the yard, we fuel everything up, we check everything, we do a safety inspection of our trucks. Obviously we want to make sure our cutting edges are good on the plows.
A lot of times we’re looking at our plow runs to make sure we don’t have low hanging wires, branches or pot holes.
Q: How many plow runs are you doing for storms?
Palermo: We get 21 men in, 21 plow runs. We’ve got three loaders, two backhoes with a snow box on one backhoe, we’ve got a giant snowblower.
Q: What kind of trucks do you use for snowstorms?
Perrelli: This is a 2018 freightliner. It’s the first ten-wheeler that we have which will hold 12-tons of salt. So you can go a little bit further during the storms.
Q: How does it work when the truck salts the roads?
Perrelli: With an in-body spreader, there’s a spreader and a chain inside the body and you can control how fast you want the auger to go and how fast you want the spinner.
So I can shut the spinner right down and just make a line of salt right in the center of the road which helps traffic quite a bit to break the salt up and it spreads out evenly on the road.
Q: What kind of plow is used on the trucks?
Perrelli: It’s got cutting edges on it that are replaceable when they wear down. It’s really just basically a simple plow. These will go through three feet of snow no problem.
Q: What is the most memorable winter you worked?
Perrelli: It was probably when I started working here, it was one of those winters where we had a storm every other day, and when you stay in this truck for days on end it can get tiring. But it’s a lot easier with this (new truck).
Q: Have there been any big changes in your work?
Palermo: The machines are a lot more comfortable, the trucks are a lot more driver-friendly. Most of our trucks now are automatic with in-body spreaders where you don’t have to put a spreader in the back of the truck anymore. It just keeps the truck more balanced out, there’s no top heaviness to the truck with a load of salt on it as there is with the slide-in spreaders.
Q: How much road salt do you store in anticipation for winter?
Palermo: We’ve got a building right now with approximately 2,800 to 3,000 tons of treated salt in it.
Q: What is the timing like of when you guys start working before a storm hits?
Palermo: If the weather is pretty much on the money, we’ll schedule our guys to come in at a certain hour. If not, we wait until it starts. We have an on-call supervisor or the Police Department calls us and we respond.
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