As a winter storm that hit Chicago with a foot and a half of snow targeted New England Monday, Boston truck drivers and plowers were quickly working to rid the streets of the deluge of snow that had already blanketed the city last week.
They’re taking the snow in hundreds of dump trucks to a fenced-in lot in Boston known as a “snow farm,” piling it up high to create mounds some 40 feet tall. Bulldozers then roll over the piles to flatten the mounds.
So far, the city has amassed 21,600 tons of snow across the five farms that it uses.
City workers removed snow first from the schools and firehouses and now are clearing corners on the main roads. The most critical parts of the city were tended to first, said Kevin Linskey, a senior civil engineer responsible for logistics at the farm.
“It’s really coming along,” Linskey said. “We are at a point where we passed the critical stage and the city is starting to look in great shape.”
Still he noted that with a storm brewing, “we will pile it (snow) to the sky if we have to. We have to make room for it. The snow has to get off of those (street) locations,” he added. “We need room for this next storm.”
Boston is one of several cities forecast to get between 8 inches to a foot of snow, according to Weather.com. Some 400 trucks were out on Boston roads ahead of the storm to clear the streets as much as possible, said Interim Commissioner of Public Works Michael Dennehy.
“We got a good portion of the neighborhood streets cleaned. We knocked down many piles on street corners for visibility issues so people turning off side streets can see where they are going,” he said. “Putting another 12 inches on top of that could be a problem and you could imagine the problem if we hadn’t gone out and done a lot of the removal already.”
The city has also brought in two snow melters, which can melt 150 tons of snow an hour, to help reduce the amount of powder at various locations throughout Boston the last few days. But it could be August before all of the snow melts, Linskey said.
“No matter how much snow gets dumped on us I am quite certain the forces around us can take care of it, pile the snow, and keep the streets clear,” said Michael Somers, a senior civil engineer for the city.
Kate Doyle, a truck driver who carries snow to the farm, picked up 12 loads on Sunday and expected to bring in two more. She worked a few overnights after the recent storm.
“How am I going to catch up? Is it spring yet?” she asked when she learned another storm would hit Boston. “I do get fatigued from the snow. But it’s only for a little while. It doesn’t take too long and you get back into the swing of things and keep going.”