The snow started falling slowly and lightly, soon beginning to come down heavier, and the winds kicked in. Soon, Keene State College, the city of Keene, and most of New England was a winter wonderland. The question is not how the snow arrived in Keene, but how to get rid of it.
Bud Winsor, assistant director of physical plant, said that first the campus grounds employees begin the snow storm clean up by spraying something called Ice Ban to help remove the snow easier. “We’d rather have slush than ice,” Winsor said. According to Winsor, traction is important on the streets and sidewalks on campus.
“Every snowstorm, even a small one, usually it creates about three days worth of work,” Winsor said. He continued, “We can try to make the campus passable, but there’s a lot of follow up that takes place like widening the walkways, making sure steps are completely cleared off.”
According to Winsor, “It’s the constant going back and making sure everything’s taken care of.”
The equipment used for clearing and preparing for snow storms includes plows, bucket loaders, a five-ton sander, snowblowers, and some smaller sanders for sidewalks.
Winsor said he doesn’t see having to shovel off the roofs, but they have buckets to take care of the snow if need be.
“We hire the big dump trucks to get the snow off campus,” Winsor said. For the most part, according to Winsor, the college has the equipment to take care of everything a snowstorm brings. The issue with Winchester Lot, according to Winsor, was that there was a lot of snow, therefore the snow plowers will keep clearing Winchester Lot as cars move around. According to Winsor, Winchester Lot was mostly cleared out Sunday, Feb. 10.
“The only restriction is traffic and a lot of student traffic,” Winsor said. According to Winsor, the employees will start removing snow mounds off campus within the next week. “The people that are plowing the snow are Keene State [College] employees,” Winsor said.
As for the City of Keene, the protocol for snow removal during and after the storm is similar. Duncan Watson, assistant director of public works, said, “We have a forecast service that we pay close attention to and we watch the weather channel, the local news channel, Channel 9, to see what the forecast are calling for and then start our operations.”
According to Watson, a snow team gets together before storms and looks at what they need to do. “We have a list of priorities that we need to get to. The first and foremost is for the emergency service folks to be able to get around,” Watson said.
“We have designated routes for our crews, we have designated sidewalks for our crews and as soon as we believe that there is going to be plowable snow, we schedule the guys to come in to that time,” Watson said. According to Watson, it takes about eight hours to clear a plow route and it takes longer if it is snowing while plowing. Sidewalks come after the plowing of the roads.
Watson said, “Oftentimes we will pre-treat the roads before a storm comes in. We put down a salt mix to help be able to remove the snow in case temperatures get low.” Watson called the stuff that the salt is mixed with “magic.” It helps to reduce the salt use by about one-third of the total amount.
According to Watson, there is a night crew scheduled to “allow the drivers to get proper rest.” Some of the equipment used by the city of Keene includes sidewalk tractors, bucket loaders, a grader, ten-wheel dump trucks that apply salt and plow at same time, and one-ton plow trucks, according to Watson. He also said that the city will start to remove snow mounds Monday night. “Once the storm is finished we have certain areas where we go and pick the snow up because of constraints. We pick the snow and bring it to 560 Main St. which is our storage area,” Watson said.
“We have an outstanding group of people who work for the public works department.” Very good equipment and personnel,” Watson said. He continued, “We followed our procedures.” All the snow procedures are done by city personnel, according to Watson. Amanda Warman, director of Campus Safety, said that people should make sure to wear “appropriate footwear” and, “that they’re acting in a way that’s not going to put them in danger.”
There have been no recorded accidents because of the recent snowstorm on campus, according to Warman. Some students, like sophomore Alison O’Brien, are not too happy about the condition of the sidewalks. “All the paths are really slippery right now because they didn’t take the slush off the roads,” O’Brien said.
Junior Kerianne Hale said that she has, “slipped a couple times.” Alyssa Pouliot, a junior at KSC said, “The parking lots are typically fine. I feel relatively safe.”
According to Winsor, students staying indoors really helped with the cleanup of the snow storm. “I appreciate the students’ patience through the storm. It was a lot of snow to move,” Winsor said.
Rebecca Marsh can be contacted