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Public works departments ready themselves for a winter season test-run ahead of first snow of the season

Public works departments said they have all their heavy equipment ready to go and will be closely monitoring changing conditions.

WINCHESTER, Conn. — It’s still Fall, but some parts of Connecticut could wake up Wednesday morning to a coating of winter white. Local public works crews are using this small snow event as a test run for a tough season ahead.

In the higher elevation of the Litchfield Hills, people are no strangers to snow. Luckily, most of the leaves have already fallen from the trees. Public works departments said they have all their heavy equipment ready to go and will be closely monitoring changing conditions.

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“All our trucks are prepared, inspected, and all of the equipment. We make sure that we are ready to go for anything that Mother Nature throws our way,” said Josh Morgan, spokesperson for the CT DOT.

From the state roads to the local ones. Jim Rollins, the director of the Winchester Department of Public Works told FOX61.

“Make sure that the plow trucks have plows on them, the spreaders are filled, the salt shed has material, and when the weather conditions warrant we go out and treat the streets,” he said. 

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Tuesday’s weather event won’t be a blockbuster but it will bring precipitation in all forms including rain, a mix, and snow, making the decision of whether to pre-treat the road surface a more difficult one.

“Some storms. We haven’t decided on this one yet,” said Rollins.

The Litchfield County town of Winchester’s public works crews were busy paving the way to a fully stocked salt shed Tuesday with all their heavy equipment. “Snow moving equipment, there are roughly 15 trucks and a couple of loaders.”

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They are short on manpower and the same is true for state DOT. 

“We have more than 600 vacancies across the Department of Transportation,” said Morgan.

The Department of Transportation told FOX61 that’s due in large part to a lack of CDL license holders. “People who operate these large trucks to plow the roads so we are short-staffed for some of these larger storms. We will ask the public to have some patience. It may take us a little bit longer to clear the roads,” added Morgan.

If you are wondering how municipalities know how much salt and sand they need to keep in their sheds, typically, it’s a calculation they make based on their average consumption over the last 10 years.

In Connecticut, the totality of the snow removal season typically runs from Nov. 1st to April 1st.

Matt Caron is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at mcaron@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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