It took 81 hours of continual snow plowing to clear all of Brick’s municipal roads, Mayor John Ducey said Tuesday, amidst praise for the township’s public works crews but some complaints by residents about the overall response.
“Every snowstorm is different,” said Ducey, explaining that the township’s first pre-storm meeting took place last Wednesday.
Before the storm arrived, Public Works Director Glenn Campbell, anticipating a large storm, contacted extra contractors in Pennsylvania to assist with the plowing effort. In all, 110 pieces of snow removal equipment were at work by Saturday morning, but crews quickly found themselves hampered by the amount of snow that fell. By Saturday night, fewer than 80 pieces of equipment remained in service.
“Our mechanics were working 24 hours a day,” said Ducey.
Snow removal was further complicated by the high winds, especially in bayfront neighborhoods, where drifts re-covered streets with snow after it had already been plowed.
Cathy Erickson, a resident of the Greenbriar development, said she and her neighbors were not satisfied with the response. She told the mayor at a township council meeting Tuesday night that plowing crews made a single pass down streets in her neighborhood, leading to a six foot snow berm between her driveway and the street.
“After we were told there would be curb-to-curb plowing, [residents] were told, ‘oh no, there’s no curb-to-curb plowing,” said Erickson, adding that the matter was complicated in Greenbriar, where the homeowners association hires contractors to remove snow from driveway entrances.
In this case, the contractors could not access the driveways, she said.
“They had to have their contractor come back and plow the roads because they had six feet of snow between their curbs and the road,” Erickson said.
After so many pieces of equipment broke down, Ducey said, the decision was made to make one pass down each street in town so the snow could be removed at a faster pace.
“We understand some of you were angry,” said Councilwoman Heather deJong. “We unfortunately can’t please everybody. We can only do as much as we can, and then we have to continue on with regular business.”
DeJong praised the public works department for clearing snow in time to resume trash and recycling collections Monday morning, after salting roads Sunday night.
All of the township’s streets were cleared by 2 p.m. Monday, Ducey said, adding that the township received 242 calls to its storm hotline on Saturday and another 444 Sunday. Complaints about the response that came to the mayor’s office went one of two ways, Ducey said: roads not being plowed, and roads that were plowed, but resulted in feet of snow piled up against driveways.
“We obviously can’t clear people’s driveways – if we did it would be very expensive,” Ducey said.
The full cost of the storm response is still being calculated. Brick officials recently announced that $900,000 was allocated into its snow emergency trust fund.