With a potential big snowstorm heading toward New England this weekend, some in Boston might already be having nightmares triggered by memories of narrow sidewalks, slow commutes, and seemingly endless shoveling that defined last year’s winter.
But the city has been working to prepare for the storm that could drop more than a foot of snow, Michael Dennehy, the commissioner of Boston’s Public Works Department, told Boston.com.
“Winter has been good to us so far this year — it was good to us last year up to this point,’’ he said, emphasizing that the department is preparing for major, back-to-back storms on the chance that winter 2015 repeats itself.
“We’re very proud of how we moved snow around the city last year,’’ Dennehy said. “The city never really shut down.’’
Instead, what officials took away from last year’s crippling, record-breaking snowfall was the need to increase storage space. Dennehy said that this year the department is “literally, daily, actively’’ scouting for snow farm sites, emphasizing that open spaces are the key to combatting sequential storms.
With somewhere between a mere coating and more than a foot of snow expected to hit the area Friday night and continue into Saturday, Dennehy said the city is also working to replenish its salt supply to full capacity — 40,000 tons across the eight city-wide public works locations — after tapping into the supply on Sunday night.
If the storm does bring the foot or more some forecasters have suggested, the department may also introduce the city to two truck-mounted snowblowers that it acquired over the summer. Montreal uses similar machines to clear heavy snowfall, and Dennehy said Boston would employ them to tackle some of the trickier spots around the city that are more difficult to plow with traditional equipment. For now, the snowblowers are undergoing testing until officials see the severity of the storm.
“We’re very prepared and we’ll see what mother nature brings us,’’ Dennehy said.