The Land of the Ice and Snow – Weston’s Snow Policies Explained

Nice work, DPW

The Owl perked up yesterday evening when town communications came out with this eye-catcher: “Ever wonder why some roads get cleared before others and how the DPW tackles snowy or icy roads?” Actually no, but it remained irresistible to read further–nice work, Anthony Senesi, Public Information guy.

Now, DPW road-clearing math is pretty easy for even you non-mathy people (umm, me). There are 102 miles of roadways and 6 municipal parking lots that need to be cleared. Also 10 miles of sidewalks. So DPW starts from the south and goes to the north–yes, now you know where you fall in importance. Oh, okay, I’m lying. Let’s go to the actual communication, which will be split into parts in order to be better able to editorialize. Again, if you want the real thing, the actual town communication is here.

Part 1

The Town of Weston Department of Public Works’ mission during winter snow and ice events is to keep roadways or parts thereof, sufficiently clear of ice and snow and reasonably safe for public travel within 24 hours of initiating a snow and ice removal operation.

Sanding / Salting Operations:  Most snow and ice operations will initiate with salting / sanding.  Approximately 9 pieces of town salting / sanding equipment will be used with each piece being dispatched to a pre-assigned route.  

Plowing Operations:  Plowing operators generally begin when snow accumulates to depths of 2” with additional accumulation forecast.

For a plowable event, the town is divided into three sections each with an individual supervisor.   There are approximately 52 pieces of snow fighting equipment, 25 town, and 27 private contractor pieces.  Each piece is dispatched to a pre-assigned route for the plowing operation. [Mathy question: if there are 52 pieces of equipment and three supervisors, how many pieces go to each supervisor? Hmm.]

Okay, time for comment. “Pieces” of equipment? Can Weston not afford whole equipment? This does not seem to be the time to run an Ikea-type operation. Here, Silver Hill, you get the plow-y piece and Cherry Brook the salt-chucker adaptor. Go. Also, I feel that “snow-fighting” is a little aggressive–I don’t think we should take the arrival of snow so personally. Let’s just move it to someplace where it feels more welcome, like the side of the road. “Snow-moving” equipment. Peace.

Fight me, snow!

Let’s see. Part II:

Clearing Your Driveway / Cars:  During a long snow event, a plow may initially make just a single pass down your street to keep the road passable until the final clean-up is completed.  To avoid having to clear your driveway several times, please wait until plowing operations are complete before clearing your driveway!  Residents are prohibited from cleaning snow from their cars, driveways or walls into roadway areas.

Damages:  The town will not be held liable for damages incurred by plowed, thrown or moved snow and ice as the result of normal plowing operations.  

Comments and Questions:  The above is an abbreviated version of the Department of Public Works’ Standard Operating Procedures for the Snow and Ice Control Program – Winter 2021-2022.  For further information, you may contact Tom Cullen, D.P.W Director or Rich Sullivan, D.P.W. Deputy Director at (781) 786-5100 or email at

Okay, more commentary. The Owls contract a private plow guy – or is that a private contractor “piece?” – who almost always does a last pass after the last DPW plow has gone through. The end of the driveway ice boulders and snow clods are hardcore–not sure we could get those without Dave. On the other hand, we have only once lost our mailbox to a plow guy, and then another three times –to a newspaper delivery person (not ours) and two friends of the family (one Porsche Cayenne, one Ford F250 needed new taillights–never reverse into our driveway of doom). Note that you can get $50 from the town if your mailbox is hit by a plow, but not if was hit by the snow and ice from a plow. Or your friends. More on that policy here.

Now, let’s see what’s not covered in this communication because it’s in the fine (invisible) print. Big roads first. Arteries between big roads second. Sidewalks are last. Yes, size matters, boys and girls, don’t let anyone tell you differently. If you happen to live in a neighborhood with three cul-de-sacs, and share one of your roads with a neighboring town, don’t expect miracles. On the other hand, before the Owl gets pithy feedback from Mr. Cullen, the Owl must say that DPW does a remarkably great job in our narrow-streeted and curvy-roaded town. Yesterday morning on the way to take the Owlets to school, there were three “pieces” of equipment – two snowblowers, one shovel guy – making their way efficiently down Merriam’s sidewalk.

Owlet, Snowmageddon

So, that in a nutshell is how we “fight” snow here in Weston. Much appreciation to our “snow-fighters” and their pieces. Please still clear the Owl’s street…this is all joking, okay? Uh oh.

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