BRICK – The first major snowstorm of the season hit on Thursday, Jan. 4, and according to the National Weather Service, Brick received about 18 inches of the white stuff due to a weather phenomenon known as “Bomb Cyclone,” or a large-scale and rapidly-decreasing low pressure system.
It was the first time that snow plows were deployed in Brick this winter, and according to acting director of the Department of Public Works Ken Somers, he and other township officials met on the day before the storm to plan their strategy.
This was Somers’ debut as the head of the DPW since long-time Director Glenn Campbell recently retired. Somers, who is a 32-year DPW general supervisor, is taking Campbell’s place until a replacement could be found.
“We decided to have all our DPW drivers come in on Wednesday morning and pre-salt the roads on straight time, and then they went home to get their rest for the storm on Thursday,” Somers said in a phone interview on Friday afternoon.
Using 12-14 township trucks, it took about eight hours to pre-salt all of Brick’s roads, he said. The township uses a combination of salt and liquid calcium called Environbrine, which is a paste created by the combination of salt and liquid calcium and sprayed on the roads. Every street is treated with the product, which prevents snow from adhering to the road.
Outside contractors came in at around 4 a.m. on Thursday to learn their plow routes and sign paperwork before they could plow township roads, since it was the first time they were being used this winter, Somers explained.
Brick owns 36 pieces of plowing vehicles and outside contractors – which included three new ones this year – provided 55 pieces, for a total of 91, he said.
Township plowers hit the streets at around 7:30 on Thursday and the contractors started at around 8. Within five hours they had made a “first pass” at every township road, Somers said.
Most of the roads were completely plowed within two 15-hour shifts using all the available equipment, Somers said.
By Friday afternoon, the brunt of the plowing was finished with just a couple of trucks out to address residents’ complaints, he said.
“Now the roads are scraped, so the roads will get slippery, so we’re salting again so that [on Saturday] when the sun comes out it will break up the ice and get back to the asphalt,” Somers said.
Police Chief James Riccio said there were 196 calls for service on Thursday, with 84 from cars which had become disabled in the snow.
(On the previous two Thursdays there were about the same number of calls, he said, but they were of a different nature).
“We did not put on extra officers. We only restricted the day, meaning that they could not take off,” Riccio said in an email.
“We did, however, put on extra dispatchers to handle calls coming into the Dispatch Center, and an extra ambulance,” he added.
There was a full complement of police officers working, he said, which is about 25.
According to Township Business Administrator Joanne Bergin, the cost of the storm could not be calculated until all the contractor invoices had been received.