In the winter months, Public Works maintains over 140 miles of public roads. We divide these miles into 20 plow routes, 6 of which are maintained by a private contractor working for us (presently Harry C. Crooker & Sons, Inc.).
When a Storm Begins:
For nighttime and weekend storms we rely on the Police Department to call our on call Foreman when road conditions deteriorate. When a snowstorm (or freezing rain) begins, eight of our plow units also have sanders. We start work by first sanding or salting the major arteries (River Rd, Durham Rd, Pleasant St, Mill St, Maine St, Bath Rd, Route 123 and Route 24), and then the in-town streets and collector roads. Our goal is to keep the roads as safe as possible and try to keep snow or ice from bonding and packing to the pavement.
As the Storm Continues:
When two to three inches of snow accumulates we call the sander trucks back in and hook up their plows, mobilize the rest of our plow units, and begin plowing the roads. Again, we concentrate on the main arteries followed by the side streets, our goal being to keep the travel lanes open. We will continue plowing the routes until the storm subsides and then go back over all routes to widen-out the roadways and clean up at the intersections. It is our policy to clear the shoulder -approximately 4′ beyond the edge of pavement. The town has 125 dead-end roads that we must plow out, and this adds to our plow time. It will take us 3 to 4 hours to complete a typical plow route so for intense storms a significant accumulation can develop in the roadways while we are plowing – be prepared.
The below diagram shows how your driveway can be initially cleared to reduce the possibility that after the plow passes you will be snow-bound again. We suggest that you clear your driveway in this manner, shoveling snow in the direction of traffic and clearing a “pocket” next to your driveway as shown; snow accumulation on the plow will drop into that pocket and the amount that goes into the driveway opening will be minimized.
After the Storm:
After the storm stops and we clear all the roads we will then remove the plows and return once again to sand or salt all areas. On Maine Street we clear the sidewalks and windrow the snow into the center of this wide street. Brunswick has 30 miles of sidewalks, and once the storm diminishes we concentrate on opening them up. We first do the downtown area and the school zones and then work our way to all other areas. We have two sidewalk tractors for plowing and blowing snow; it will take us 2 to 3 days to get to all the walks we do. On narrow streets we often cannot clear the walks until we can remove the street snow so the walks may be unavailable for a week or more.
We will also be removing snow, first on Maine Street and the Bank Street and Cumberland Street municipal lots and then other narrow streets in the in-town area. We must do Maine Street and the parking lots every storm, and try to rotate which side streets get done as it takes at least 2 weeks to remove snow from all the in-town side streets, and we often get another storm before we can remove snow from the entire route.
How You Can Help:
- Make certain your vehicle is ready for winter driving and do not drive in winter storms unless absolutely necessary.
- Reduce your speed. This is the #1 cause of winter accidents.
- Please do not park in the roadway or shoulder area during a storm. Our plows must be able to clear the area the first time through without having to return to clean it up later. Remember, emergency parking bans are typically declared during a snow event or the night after so we can do clean up. If you park on street during a parking ban your car will be ticketed and towed at your expense. Also, please do not place any rocks, marker posts or similar obstructions within 6 feet of the road edge. We need to plow out this area for drainage and space to put snow from future storms.
- Do not shovel, snow-blow or have your driveway plowed into or across the road. This is prohibited by law and can cause a serious traffic hazard. If possible, it is best to place snow on the side of your driveway opposite the direction from which the plow is coming. That way, the plow will push snow away from your driveway rather than back into it.
- If possible, wait until the highway has been plowed before cleaning out the end of your driveway. There is no practical way to plow the highway without depositing snow into your driveway. Please understand the Town cannot go back and shovel or plow out the end of any private driveway.
- Help reduce the possibility of a broken mailbox post. All our plow operators are urged to take precautions to avoid hitting mailbox posts. However, experience has shown that with reduced visibility during a storm it is not always possible for a driver to see a post in time to avoid striking it with the wing of the plow. Any installation within the highway right-of-way, including a mailbox, is placed there at the owner’s risk. Therefore, owners are encouraged to put mailboxes at the maximum usable distance back from the roadway pavement and we recommend a 42″ mounting height with reflectors on the post. For more details, please see our printable mailbox information. Posts should also be checked for deterioration or rot to reduce the possibility of their being broken off simply by the weight of plowed snow.
- Public Works does not have a dispatcher on duty except during normal workdays from 7 am to 4 pm (call 725-6654). During a bad storm please only call when absolutely necessary. For emergencies you may also contact the Police Department at 725-5521.
- Don’t be misled by plow trucks riding with their plows up. They may be going in for fuel or repairs or headed for another area. Public Works maintains all roads in Brunswick, except those maintained by the Maine Department of Transportation: I-295 and the Exit 28 ramp to Pleasant Street at Dexter Shoe, divided Route 1 from Maine Street to the West Bath town line, and the Old Portland Road (Route 1 from Dexter Shoe to the Freeport line). Please call MDOT at 885-7000 (Scarborough office) to report a problem with these roads.
- Finally, please be patient. Whether it is your driveway for which you are responsible or the 140 road miles that the Town is responsible for, snow removal is an arduous and time consuming job. If a storm is of long duration, understand that we are a small organization with limited reserves and our workers continue around the clock until the job is done. We strive for the safest streets and roads at a reasonable cost in the shortest period of time.