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Greenwich Daily Voice serves Greenwich, CT
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Greenwich Vows to Keep Roads Clear of Snow

GREENWICH, Conn. – With winter coming up fast and furious on Greenwich, the snowstorms of last season are a reminder of what may be to come. Peter Kurpeawski of the Greenwich Department of Public Works says residents will continue to get professional snow-removal operations.

“We have a very dedicated work force here that works long and extended hours, and they do it in a very safe and efficient manner,” said Kurpeawski. “It’s a job that is thankless in a lot of ways because people go to bed and there’s snow on the ground when they wake up, and their view is: Why isn’t it clean?”

The town’s $700,000 snow-removal budget took a hit last winter from continuous storms and blizzards. It is based on 35 inches of snowfall for the entire winter, and the town has the same budget this year. However, the Board of Estimate and Taxation has a contingency fund to dip into if budgets are depleted.

“We didn’t have any issues with our operations last year, just large volumes of snow that takes time to remove,” said Kurpeawski.

Greenwich maintains 265.3 miles of roadways, 33 municipal and commuter parking lots and 14 schools. “It’s a very complex operation,” Kurpeawski said of the snow removal.

Before every storm, Kurpeawski said the town does an aggressive anti-icing program using Envirobrand, an application that can go on up to five days before a storm, provided there are dry surfaces. “We go out and pretreat the roads, it dries, and then once it starts to snow, it breaks the bond between the snow and the road surface,” he said. The Highway Department uses salt and sand applications on roads during all stages of a storm.

One problem during storms is not from cleanup, but from residents who get their cars stuck in the snow. “A certain percentage of the population likes to be out in the snow,” said Kurpeawski. “People want to go out and have fun when they should be home earlier then they think. They end up abandoning their cars, which impedes the cleanup operation.”

During snow emergencies, the Highway Department has designated snow routes, and the police department can tow cars parked on those streets.

Another problem comes from private contractors that push snow from driveways or parking lots onto streets. It is illegal, and Lt. Kraig Gray, spokesman for the police department, said officers actively ticket for this offense. This year will be no different. “Let’s just say last year was not the first year it snowed in New England, and this year will not be the last,” said Gray.

"We know there are instances where people are going to push the snow into the road, but usually what happens is many contractors leave the piles in the middle of the street and don’t clean up after themselves,” said Kurpeawski. “If they would simply tuck it all in and let the snow fall down the gutter line, it wouldn’t be a problem.”

No matter what kind of winter Greenwich has, Kurpeawski said the town is ready. “Our employees are dedicated and have years and years of experience,” he said. “The best thing we can do is deal with whatever comes down, and we give it hell to the end.”

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