Snow & Ice Operations: Storm Events

The following is a general description of the Department of Public Work's (DPW) Snow and Ice operational plan. Each storm event is different, but we try to follow our Snow and Ice operations policy as closely as possible.

Our Snow and Ice Program entails three steps:

  1. Anti-icing Operation
  2. Plowing Operation
  3. De-icing Operation

Anti-icing Operation

Right before the snowstorm begins, the DPW initiates its anti-icing operations by spreading salt and liquid calcium chloride when necessary first, on the primary and collector roads, hills, and school bus routes, and last all local roads if warranted. This serves two main purposes: it prevents the snow from bonding and compacting to the pavement and it keeps traffic moving. When fully operational, eight anti-icing/de-icing material spreader trucks are used for this operation.

Plowing Operation

Plowing operations begin when a minimum of two to three inches of snow accumulates on the ground. The DPW has eleven vehicles equipped to plow snow. The Town also contracts between 20 to 60 pieces of equipment from private contractors depending on availability to assist in the snow plowing operations. Each equipment hired is assigned to a route and remains in that route until the storm subsides. The main objective during the snowstorm is to keep roads passable. At the end of the storm, the plows begin to by push back the amassed snow to the edge of the pavement. Residents may want to wait until the roads have been plowed clear before clearing the entrance of their driveways. If snow banks need to be pushed back further due to heavy build-up on the roadside, we will attempt to do so following a storm given the availability of manpower and equipment.

The DPW staff are well trained and dedicated to plow "around the clock", if necessary, keeping the roads open and passable. If a plow truck is riding with its plow up, it may be returning to the garage for fuel or repairs. Please be advised that Route 38 is maintained by the Massachusetts Highway Department and not by the Town of Tewksbury DPW.

Residents should not be alarmed if they do not see their road plowed during the early part of a snowstorm. The DPW follows an assigned route plan whereby main roads and hills are plowed first. Please be patient. All Town-owned roads will eventually be plowed.

Mailboxes can be an area of concern during storm events because they have to potential to be an obstruction to plowing operations if placed within the Town's right-of-way. Anything installed within the Town's right-of-way (i.e., fence, mailbox, etc.) is placed there at the owner's risk. Residents are encouraged to place mailboxes at the maximum allowable distance from the pavement. Please be aware that the DPW does not reimburse for mailboxes damaged during snow plowing operations. Mailboxes should be inspected regularly to ensure that they are secured properly and that wood posts are not rotted out.

An additional obstacle to our snow and ice operation is the basketball hoops that are placed on town roads. These hoops are tough to see when it is snowing and are capable of snagging and damaging our snowplow trucks. In the event that this happens and damage is caused to the vehicle, the owner will be held responsible for the damage. Please take the time to remove the hoops as required by the Town By-Law during the winter months. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.

De-icing Operation

Once the snowfall has stopped and all roads are clear of snow, a post-storm deicing operation commences. All roads are again treated with salt and liquid calcium chloride when necessary to improve traction and melt remaining snow and ice (an exception to this policy will only be when material(s) supply are extremely low and only main roads, hills, and bus routes become more of a priority than those secondary roads during the periods of low quantities of salt availability).

How Residents Can Help

Residents can assist the DPW during a snowstorm by heeding these suggestions:

  1. Observe all winter parking bans
  2. Reduce your speed and drive cautiously.
  3. Remain off the streets during snowstorms unless absolutely necessary.
  4. Do not allow children to make "snow forts" at the edge of roads.
  5. Do not plow, blow, or throw snow back into the road.
  6. Before final clean-up of your driveway, check the road. If it does not appear to be widened out, a plow will be most likely return to plow again and may push snow back into the entrance of your driveway. Doing this might keep you from clearing your driveway more than once.
  7. During plowing operations, some lawn areas located within the Town's right-of-way will inadvertently be damaged. To help keep this from occurring, we recommend installing reflectors at the edge of your lawn as a guide for our plow operators. If lawn sprinklers systems are installed please keep them away from the edge of the road. The DPW is not responsible for repairing or replacing them if damaged during snow plowing operations. Be aware that if you have installed sprinkler heads near the edge of the road, they most like are located on Town property.
  8. Finally, please have patience. Snow plowing is a time-consuming and arduous job covering approximately 150 miles of roads in Town. Some residents will have their road plowed first and some will be last, but in the end, all town roads will be cleared.

The DPW is devoted to providing the residents of Tewksbury with dependable snow and ice operation in the shortest and most efficient time possible. With your cooperation, we will all benefit from a snowstorm. If you have any questions concerning the snow and ice operations as it is explained, please call Phone: 978-640-4440, extension 228 or visit our website. We will try to assist you in any way possible.