Straight Talk: Snow removal|
Posted 1/27/2011 Updated 1/27/2011
Commentary by Col. Stacy L. Yike
66th Air Base Group commander
1/27/2011 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Why is it still snowing? Winter safety is a whole new ballgame for me, and the deep freeze we had Monday was a real eye opener. This kind of weather requires special diligence on everyone's part, whether it is the pedestrian on the edge of slippery road bundled up with hat and scarf that reduces visibility or the driver who can't see the lane marking because the road is covered in snow and has reduced visibility from snow and ice on the windows.
Thank you for watching out for yourself and others. Snow processes are fairly well documented here. You can find information on the CenterNet or the Hanscom public website.
Remember, you can always call 781-377-COLD (2653) for the latest information. Release policies are slightly different for military, civilian and contract employees to account for their different governing regulations, but the goal is always to keep people safe with minimum impact to the mission. If you have questions, be sure to ask your supervisor.
So now for information on clearing the parking lots:
Question: In the parking area along Arnold Street, directly in front of Building 1600, there is a snow pile that is blocking parking spaces. At least one reserved spot and at least one non-reserved spot is blocked. In addition, in the Base Chapel parking lot across from Building 1600, there is a snow pile that is blocking at least two parking spaces. For future attention to matters like this, I encourage you to penalize the snow plowing operators with a fine of $5 per day for each parking spot that is unusable due to incomplete snow removal operations, to be donated to an Air Force charity of choice on behalf of the person first reporting the infraction to the base.
Response: Thank you for including photos of the offending snow. We will add that to our growing stack of Blizzard 2011 documentation. As you would expect, we have a comprehensive snow and ice plan that governs snow removal at Hanscom. I keep a map in my office that prioritizes clearing of every inch of pavement on base. When we get lots of snow, plowing is insufficient to clear. Instead, we physically load and haul away the snow. So, we plow the roads and then the lots, but that still leaves large mounds of snow in very inconvenient places, such as on top of multiple parking spots. Then we begin hauling the snow to one of the seven snow stockpiling areas. Unfortunately, that takes time. Civil Engineering is working hard to ensure they meet all performance specifications in the snow removal contract.
I appreciate your recommendation of fining, but it is not an allowable option under the current contract. We do inspect and document the base maintenance contractor's performance and hold the contractor accountable as appropriate. As of Wednesday morning, the spots you referenced have not yet been cleared, but we will get to them.
If you notice a snow pile or other snow-related concern and you want to be sure it is part of the plan for removal, please call the CE Customer Service Help Desk at 781-377-3383.
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