The transition from winter to spring is never an easy one for anyone in upstate New York.
For Granville village department of public works superintendent Scott Mackey and Granville town highway department superintendent Scott Taylor, the duo and their respective staff members have the duty of maintaining roads and equipment in the village and town of Granville.
“The role of the village DPW in the winter season is very crucial and busy, as we are responsible for plowing and treating 22 lane-miles of streets, as well as several, village-owned parking lots,” Mackey said. “When it comes to snow and ice, our crew is like a well-oiled machine, everyone has a specific route and task… I would also like to add that we maintain 25 miles of water mains, 15 miles of sewer collections, six sewer pump stations, a wastewater treatment plant and a water treatment plant.”
Taylor described a typical winter day in the life of the town highway superintendent in Granville, which involves early mornings and making sure morning commutes can be made safely.
“We have lots of rules during the winter. If there’s a storm coming, my day generally starts at 2:30 a.m. I go out and check the roads to see what time the guys should come in, stay ahead of the busses and people going to work. Usually we come in at 3 a.m. or 4 a.m., depending on how bad the storm was. All the guys have a role, even myself,” Taylor said.
The winter season can throw curveballs at any point. Both Taylor and Mackey weren’t expecting the monster snowstorm in the middle of December that saw 37 inches topple Granville and surrounding areas when they were expecting around six inches.
“Mother Nature did get the upper hand on us with the Dec. 16 and Dec. 17 snowstorm,” Mackey said. That morning, we had every piece of equipment with a plow or a bucket out to try and keep up with snowfall rates of two inches to four inches per hour. That storm set the bar for the season, the rest were easy after that.”
“We all help out as needed, like the big storm we had, it was hard to keep up, even the big trucks had struggled, got stuck and people were out in our way trying to help them get out too. Overall, we had the roads cleared by the end of the day, (it took) 15 hours. Next day, we went out and winged everything back. I was very proud of the guys after that big storm, no one got hurt, nothing was broken,” Taylor said.
Granville Mayor Paul Labas and town supervisor Matt Hicks took some time out of their days to speak about their appreciation and the efforts made by the DPW and the highway department.
“Definitely in the winter-time, they are key personnel for us,” Labas said. “They accomplished tremendous feats.”
“Our main job is to make sure the roads are open and clear,” Hicks said. “Overall the winter wasn’t too bad, we only had the one major storm in December… It’s one of those variables when you’re budgeting things.”
In terms of current responsibilities, Mackey and Taylor provided a list of boxes with checks next to them and items they are aiming to accomplish.
“We are currently in the process of cleaning and repairing all storm water drains in the village, as well as jetting and flushing dead end sewer mains in anticipation of a normally wet spring season,” Mackey said. “The street sweeper will be out in full force. Over the winter, we were able to complete our UV disinfection project at the wastewater treatment plant which will be used to disinfect our wastewater effluent starting May 1 through Oct. 31.”
“We have the North Granville water system to take care of, freeze-ups, water breaks and line breaks at any hour. We take care of the rail trail by clearing trees and we’re mowing during the summer,” Taylor said. “We painted the ceiling in the shop white, it was black from over the years. We can see better working on all the equipment.”
Taylor noted how work in the town over the spring and summer of 2020 had been beneficial in the winter and will be helpful as new goals look to be achieved.
“Summertime we spent a lot of time fixing trucks, they are in really good shape now. The guys worked very well together working on all the stuff,” Taylor said. “Last spring we did lots of ditching, lots of brush-cutting, we put lots of culverts in and took old ones out. We did Upper Turnpike Road, we worked on Beaver Pond Road, Cross Road, Williams Road, Emerson Lane and DeKalb Road taking care of lots of water problems. It worked out great in the spring and winter.”
Mackey touched on what he looks forward to as the days will become easier to get more work done in the village, completing projects like the Slate Valley Military and Veterans Banner Project that honors the sacrifices of servicemen and women from the community.
“Moving forward into warmer weather, the village is going to see a lot of activity. The DPW will be fabricating 80 banner arms for the Slate Valley Military and Veterans Banner Project, as well as hanging all the banners,” Mackey said. “A long section of sidewalk on Quaker Street will be replaced, several village streets will be paved along with several poor drainage areas addressed. There will be several landscape changes around village parks and the DPW will be assisting the New York State Department of Transportation with paving of State Route 149, along with assisting Washington County with replacement of the Church Street bridge as some of our infrastructure is directly affected.”
Additionally, Taylor stated his goals for the spring and sent his appreciation to the community in a message to help each other out.
“We plan on ditching a lot of the dirt roads, we plan on black-topping as long as we get all of our Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) money on Liebig Road, Butler Road and Upper Turnpike Road. We will do more if possible,” Taylor said.
“I would like to thank the community for being patient with us as we are working on the roads. If you know we’re working on the road, try to avoid us, use another road if possible. The less we have to be directing traffic, the faster we can get done with the road and you can have the road back without us in your way.”