PITTSFIELD — Metropolis leaders promised residents they’d get solutions on why highway circumstances had been an icy mess within the days after a winter storm blew by the Berkshires proper earlier than Christmas.
However anybody anticipating a full report on the storm at Tuesday’s assembly of the Metropolis Council could come away dissatisfied—the town’s public works commissioner informed The Eagle on Monday that he will not be presenting his report till the council’s Jan. 24 assembly.
Nonetheless, the storm and its fallout seemingly might be a subject of curiosity this week, with at the very least one councilor looking for punitive motion towards the division over the ordeal.
Practically 70 minor motorized vehicle accidents had been reported in a 48-hour interval that ended about sunset on Christmas Day after what started as a heat rain rapidly turned to heavy, windswept snow because the temperatures plunged late Friday afternoon. Some three dozen of these crashes occurred at intersections, as motorists discovered themselves unable to cease on the hard-packed snow and ice that coated metropolis roads.
Councilor Charles Kronick has submitted a petition encouraging his colleagues to “not authorize additional bills and buying of capital tools because of the town’s efficiency on this storm.”
Kronick says in his petition, which might be mentioned at Tuesday’s assembly, that he has concluded that there have been “steps that weren’t adopted” that would have improved the drivability of the roadways.
Principal among the many missteps he lays on the toes of the division of public works is the failure to activate CodeRed alert system to inform residents in regards to the poor driving circumstances.
One other petition, by Councilor Earl Persip III, takes the alternative strategy. That petition asks Ricardo Morales, commissioner of utilities and public works, to generate a value estimate for extra tools metropolis highway crews can use for pretreating roads with magnesium chloride.
Morales is ready to answer that petition within the council’s second assembly this month on Jan. 24.
In an interview with The Eagle on Monday, Morales mentioned he is heard the priority from the town and has met with the mayor and all however two councilors to reply questions on how the division tried to battle off the snow and ice.
“One of many main issues that I am specializing in is displaying the Metropolis Council and the general public that our [Department of Public Works] workers, myself, superintendents, plow drivers, contractors—we had been all working all through the storm,” he mentioned.
Additionally at that Jan. 24 assembly, Morales will reply to a 3rd petition submitted by council President Peter Marchetti, Vice President Pete White and Persip.
“The undersigned respectfully request that Commissioner Morales present a full report of the problem that resulted in poor highway plowing circumstances over the vacation weekend and proposed options that this doesn’t occur sooner or later,” the one sentence petition reads.
Morales mentioned because the storm he is been gathering knowledge on how a lot materials was used to deal with the roads, what number of hours contractors and metropolis crews labored clearing snow and ice and the GPS info displaying the place of metropolis freeway autos and contractor autos all through the storm.
He added he is been speaking with public works groups in Nice Barrington, Lenox, Dalton, Adams and North Adams to see how they fared by the climate.
The most important consider making the storm so tough on plow crews and native drivers, Morales mentioned, was an unfortunate mixture of rain after which quickly plunging temperatures.
“We have at all times been capable of trip it — that advantageous steadiness of with the ability to open up the roads with what we’ve got,” Morales mentioned. “However this storm actually examined our limits and… we weren’t capable of sustain with the tools we’ve got.”
Rain previous to the snow stored metropolis plows from laying down salt, in fears that something that hit pavement can be washed down the drain. As soon as the precipitation converted to snow, Morales mentioned crews began to use highway salt however solely had a short window earlier than temperatures turned too chilly for that highway therapy to be efficient.
Crews added sand into the combination in an try to extend the traction, however the snow rapidly turned packed and tough to take away, he mentioned.
“Proper round eight or 9 o’clock at evening on Friday, we sort of knew the battle with the snow [had gone] south as a result of by that point the temperature was under 10 levels and we had packed snow,” Morales mentioned.
The commissioner mentioned he’ll share all this and extra with the council later this month, however doesn’t plan to attend Tuesday’s assembly.
“Councilor Kronick was one of many two counselors that weren’t capable of meet with me and the mayor and the superintendent final week,” Morales mentioned. “We defined a number of issues that it could have been good for him to know earlier than placing these petitions by.
“I am not going to be there [Tuesday],” he mentioned. “I haven’t got any purpose to be there.”