Record snow storm works East Hartford crews around the clock

By Frances Taylor
East Hartford - posted Thu., Feb. 3, 2011
An East Hartford plow truck gets gas at public works. Photo by F. Taylor.
An East Hartford plow truck gets gas at public works. Photo by F. Taylor.

The record-setting two-day snowstorm kept public works crews on a marathon schedule of snow-clearing and sand dumping.
The snowfall and icy roads closed schools for two days, and erased the schedules of community and sporting events. East Hartford, along with other towns in the state, applied to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for financial assistance with snow removal costs.
Timothy Bockus, acting director of Public Works, said plow drivers worked for 34 hours on Feb. 1 and 2 in an attempt to keep streets cleared from the early morning hours straight through to evening.
During the height of the storm, 27 town snowplows were supported by about 17 private contractors.
“We’ve had crews going round the clock scraping the roads. It’s a tough job, but it’s going well. We give them a break to get a quick nap,’’ said Bockus, who just started on the job four weeks ago.
According to the National Weather Service, January was the snowiest month on record in Connecticut. The storm caused buildings to collapse in several towns in the state, and at its peak covered more than a third of the United States.
 “It is definitely historic,’’ Bockus added.
The snow and ice is thought to have contributed to a lower incidence of arrests over the two-day period. East Hartford police reported fewer people on the roads, which in turn led to a dip in significant incidents. But police were kept busy with snow-related problems.
 “We had an increase in minor accidents – people hitting snow banks – as well as an increase in problems related to the weather,’’ said Lt. Curt Stoldt, public information officer for East Hartford.
“Fortunately, none of the incidents were serious, but there was definitely an increase in calls related to snow removal, like damage to property caused by snow plows,’’ Stoldt said.
Police even received calls from people wanting help with snow on their roofs. “They call us,’’ he said, “But we can’t help them with that kind of thing.’’

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