By Anthony J. Machcinski
KEARNY— As the Northeast got hit with an arctic chill that produced wind chills in the low teens, many began to brace for snow that hasn’t hit the area since a freak Halloween weekend snowstorm.
While many in town fear that dreaded four-letter word, members of the Kearny Department of Public Works began to get ready for the inevitable snowfall that lurks in the near future.
With seven salt trucks and nine additional snowplow vehicles, the Kearny DPW needs less than an hour to get ready for a storm.
“Depending on the severity of the storm, the town takes about three to four hours to be cleared of about four inches of accumulation,” said DPW Superintendent Gerry Kerr. “It takes a lot longer, however, when there are six inches or more snow on the ground.”
According to the town of Kearny’s website, the DPW starts plowing municipal streets when snow accumulations reach two inches or more, and salt is applied on an as-needed basis.
“The hills on the west side of town and the main roads,” said Kerr concerning which roads are covered first. Kerr explained that the hills on the west side of town get icy quicker because of moisture coming from the river.
While the town is split into sections and covered by the DPW, several roads are taken care of by outside sources. These roads include Passaic Ave., Schuyler Ave., Fish House Rd., Central Ave. and Belleville Turnpike. These roads are covered by the Hudson County Road Department or, in the case of Belleville Turnpike, plowed by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
The town houses its rock salt in a shed that holds some 1500 tons of the ice-melting crystals. While that may seem like quite a bit of salt, for each snow event, the town generally goes through about 300 tons, according to Kerr.
“Depending on the event, we have to refill the trucks about every hour,” Kerr explained, saying that wet snow causes trucks to be filled about once an hour while if its colder and the snow is dry, it takes more salt and it is often less than an hour per refill.
The salt itself is shipped to ports in Newark and is then called in by the town.
So when the next big snowstorm hits the area, don’t get mad at the drivers who accidentally plow snow into your driveway. Instead, think about the sizeable area that they cover and the amount of effort it takes to plow the nearly 48 miles of town roads that you use on a daily basis.