TOWNSEND/PEPPERELL — The heavy snow storms that hit the area over the past two weeks have left both road crews and municipal budgets exhausted.
The road crew in Townsend was called in Saturday at midnight and did not go home until Monday night at 9:30.
“That’s about 46 hours,” said Highway Superintendent Ed Kukkula.
With streets narrowed by snow and another storm expected on Saturday, there was no rest for the weary workers.
“We’re doing the best we can to try and get our roads widened and our intersections pushed back so people can see,” Kukkula said on Tuesday afternoon.
Non-essential town offices in Townsend and Pepperell were closed Monday for the storm. The North Middlesex Regional District schools were closed both Monday and Tuesday.
Crews were out the last week, Townsend Town Administrator Andy Sheehan said, pushing snow from the sides of the road and from intersections to make room for this week’s accumulation.
The town has some salt and sand left, enough for a couple more storms if used carefully, Sheehan said. Usually the material is delivered, but this time the town will send a truck to Quincy to pick up another load.
As of Tuesday, Feb. 3, the town had spent $313,552 on snow and ice. “Obviously that will change,” Sheehan said.
On Tuesday, the National Weather service reported 14 inches of snow had fallen in Pepperell in the previous 48 hours. Townsend was not included on the list.
Pepperell’s highway department also spent much of last week pushing snow back in preparation for the Monday storm.
Town Administrator Mark Andrews praised Peter Shattuck, the highway superintendent. “He’s got the guys revved up,” Andrews said.
They cleaned up the four to six inches that accumulated on Sunday and have had a few opportunities to get some rest in between tackling the following foot or so of snow, Andrews said.
Following the storm on Monday, the crew, with the help of contractors, has been out pushing back snow, clearing intersections and widening the roads, Shattuck said.
“Have patience, drive slow and watch out,” he said. Drivers of the plows cannot see over snowbanks at intersections and driveways.
It is especially important to keep children from the edges of the driveways, he said.
The heavy snowfalls mean the town is reached the end of its supplies and the snow and ice budget.
“Peter, he’s a very good planner. He had the materials, the salt and sand, to take care of this storm,” Andrews said. “We’ll need to replenish that this week.”
The end of the Monday storm is as far as the town’s supplies stretched. If he does not get a shipment in by Wednesday, there will be no salt or sand, Shattuck said. Despite repeated phone calls to the supplier in Quincy, none has arrived.
Even if a shipment comes in before the next storm, it will likely only be enough to treat the main roads, Routes 119 and 113, he said.
“The budget has been gone for a while,” Shattuck said.
Massachusetts towns are allowed to deficit spend to cover snow and ice costs. The town appropriated $180,000 for winter operations this year, Andrews said.