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Belmont's Snow Movers: DPW Expects to Stay Ahead of Nor'easter

Highway Department goal: keeping the major routes through town passable.

Michael Santoro, Highway Division Manager of Belmont's Department of Public Works
Michael Santoro, Highway Division Manager of Belmont's Department of Public Works
Michael Santoro said he probably could run off the 11 major routes through Belmont that his crews will be keeping clear during the duration of the New Year's Nor'easter off the top of this head.

"I probably dream of them by now," said the Highway Division Manager of the town's Department of Public Works from his "command post" in the DPW Yard at C Street.

The streets making up the major routes are the thoroughfares that carry the majority of residential and commercial traffic in and through Belmont. Keeping them passable will be the goal for Santoro and the Highway Department. 

"So far so good. I really think that we can stay ahead of the storm," said Santoro at 2 p.m., exactly 12 hours after he and his team began salting and sanding town roads as the first evidence of the storm began. 

"Belmont's lucky to have a team from the Highway Department who are willing to stay on the job during the entire storm," said Santoro. 

Currently, Santoro has 21 pieces of equipment – sanders, front loaders, pickups, heavy trucks and earth movers – running on the 11 routes.

"Right now, we are just using town equipment because we are not having any problems keeping the roads clear," said Santoro as the snowfall is not particularly heavy and it is quite light.

But that should change by nightfall when blizzard conditions are expected to arrive with strong winds and snow falling at an inch or more an hour. 

It will be around 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. when Santoro will make the call to his subcontractors.

"We have eight companies we have on call which are ready to help," said Santoro, noting they will bring similar vehicles as the town's to the battle.

Those contractors will help concentrate on side streets which until that point may not have been plowed by the town.

Santoro said his greatest concern will be drifting and blowing snow, making visibility difficult for drivers. In addition, the latest forecasts call for the storm to last longer than expected, ending at noon rather than 9 a.m. That change could impact when the snow emergency is lifted in Belmont.

"We will be reevaluating whether to extend the parking ban to a later hour if the roads are not in the condition we hope," said Santoro. 

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