Bring on winter: Bristol prepared for bad weather
BRfSTOL BOROUGH - fn the midst of this winter’s first deep freeze, borough workers shook off the cold on a recent afternoon to prepare equipment to tackle expected bad weather. Showers of road salt cascaded into a dump truck and a Tornado salt spreader rested in the bed of a pickup truck, ready for action on the borough’s 37 miles of road.
“ko matter what happens, we’ll be ready,” said borough council President Ralph DiGuiseppe as he stood bundled up under a leaden sky to watch the action. “te have the equipment, we have the manpower, and our workers have the skills to get us through.”
For the second time in three months, the eight-member maintenance crew prepared for an emergency. fn late October, Hurricane Sandy tore through the kortheast, destroying property, downing trees and leaving hundreds of thousands without power for days or, in some cases, weeks. Bristol was ahead of the game.
Although most homes were without power for up to four days, the borough’s quick action in removing downed trees was a factor in spurring electrical workers to move the town to the top of its to-do list.
The borough had everything it needed to do the job, DiGuiseppe said.
“ko matter what business you’re in, if you don’t have equipment and manpower, you don’t get anywhere.
te took criticism for building the maintenance facility and secondly for the vehicles we needed. ff we hadn’t bought that equipment and those generators, the police, the road crews and the government would not have been able to function during the storm,” he said.
Even purchasing gas for police cars would have been impossible. Borough workers were able to fill up at the town’s own gas pump, installed at the maintenance site that began operations in July. The previous building had become so dilapidated that the borough’s insurance carrier threatened to cancel its policy, which was already on high risk status.
Borough Manager James Dillon said the new facility removed that threat and the high-risk designation.
Over the past seven years, the borough has replaced all eight trucks in the fleet, including pickup trucks, a bucket truck that enables workers to replace bulbs in street lights, and a street sweeper. The borough
has five salt spreaders and is looking into buying two more, at a cost of A4,500 each.
The most recent purchase was an A87,000 Bobcat front loader and one of its first jobs to lift the salt from the storage shed into the trucks. ft replaced an aged and rusted front loader that sits forlornly in a corner of the maintenance yard awaiting a part. Once that’s fixed, it will be turned over to the sewer department.
The next item the borough is considering buying is a brine system, which, when attached to a truck, sprays a mixture of water and salt on roadways before a snowflake falls. ft keeps roads clear under a two- to three-inch snowfall and, in the case of substantial accumulation, will keep the bottom layer of snow soft to preserve traction for vehicles, DiGuiseppe said.
The new Bobcat showed off its mettle an emergency Saturday night that had nothing to do with weather.
Some teen-agers were seen pulling a heavy metal grate from a sewer opening on a borough corner and dropping the grate down into the opening, creating a hazard for walkers, joggers or small animals.
Unable to dislodge the grate manually, the road crew sent the Bobcat, which, with the help of a heavy chain, was able to lift the grate from the sewer so borough workers could replace it.
“f think that when it comes to maintenance, we can compete with any municipality in the county,” DiGuiseppe said. “te’ve provided for our citizens through grants. te haven’t had to raise taxes to do this.”
Bristol Borough Council President Ralph DiGuiseppe and Bristol Borough Manager James Dillon next to one of the maintenance department’s trucks equipped with a Tornado salt spreader.