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Needham digs out

Posted December 22, 2008 10:48 AM

By Erica Noonan, Globe Staff

Needham public works director Rick Merson said Monday that was still computing the cost of cleaning up this weekend's storms, after three days of round-the clock work and upwards of 70 public and privately-contracted snowplows to keep the town's 124 miles of roads clear.

Despite the exhausting schedule, the cleanup went well, he said, with few complications, he said.

A tree brought down a main power line on Greendale Avenue, near Rte. 128, overnight -- knocking out power for one-third of Needham's residents for a few hours early Monday morning -- but the damage is now repaired, Merson said.

The weekend storms, which dumped between 14 and 16 inches of snow on Needham and nearby suburbs, was a particular challenge "because it just wouldn't stop coming," Merson said. "Usually you have a little break, to plan and strategize your cleanup. This one wouldn't let up."

The work was intensified by considerable weekend car traffic, he said, with many drivers braving the roads to do last-minute holiday shopping, he said.

The town's salt and sand stores now need replenishing after three days of constant use, but Merson said the re-orders are in, and he forsees no problems getting more supplies before the next snowfall.

Last year, the town spent upwards of $600,000 on snow removal, much of it coping with record-setting snowfalls unusually early in the season.

This year is getting off to a later start in terms of heavy snow, so it's difficult to say how much the town will spend for the 2008-09 winter, he said. There is only about $200,000 currently budgeted for plowing, but that's "well under" what the town will almost certainly need, Merson said.

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