Winter Storm Juno Represents First Big Test of New Rochelle’s New Salt Dome

Written By: Robert Cox

NEW ROCHELLE, NY — Tons of snow is being kept warm and dry inside a newly constructed Salt Dome at the New Rochelle DPW Yard on East Main Street. Winter Storm Juno represents the first real test of the benefit of the new salt dome.

The rock salt was soft to the touch. It was not clumped together or frozen into chunks, more like coarse sand.

The New Rochelle City Council voted to approve the construction of a new salt dome after a series of articles by Talk of the Sound responding to critics of the DPW who struggled last winter to keep up with a series of heavy snow falls. The articles explained how critical a role road salt plays in laying the foundation for effective snow removal once a storm has ended, the economics of protecting road salt from the elements and the need to construct a salt dome as a key part of improving “snow fighting” by DPW crews.

New Rochelle Public Works Commissioner Alex Tergis knows better road salt is not a complete solution. Tergis told Talk of the Sound he would like more training, first and foremost, then more equipment and more manpower. He says the end of the City’s loose-leaf pickup policy should help as roads throughout the City are free of piles of leaves and sticks.

DPW crews have been out salting roads today and during the previous storm. After following several salt spreaders Saturday and today, it was clear to Talk of the Sound that the salt speaders are working much better, evenly spraying out salt as they drive down the road. Tergis says there have been less equipment breakdowns, as well.

Residents will have a chance to form their own opinions by Wednesday.

A year ago, many residents contacted Talk of the Sound to express frustration with what they perceived to be the poor performance of the New Rochelle DPW relative to neighboring towns like Scarsdale and Mamroneck. When Tallk of the Sound investigated and presented the results, these same residents were shocked with how under-equipped and under-staffed New Rochelle DPW has been. As we wrote last year, “Comparing New Rochelle DPW to White Plains, Larchmont or Scarsdale is like comparing Napoleon’s Grand Army of the Republic to the 100 guys who fought at The Alamo.”

Here are the facts.

New Rochelle maintains 180 miles of roads with about 18 vehicles (2 vehicles on order since last summer have yet to arrive). The vehicles have salt spreaders and plows. New Rochelle covers 10 to 14 miles per spreader and 10 to 14 miles per plow.

White Plains maintains 150 miles of roads with 17 salt spreaders and 75 plows; White Plains covers 8.82 miles per spreader and just 4.5 miles per plow.

Cortlandt maintains 170 miles of roads with 21 salt spreaders and 50 plows; Cortlandt covers 8.10 miles per spreader and just 3.4 miles per plow.

Scarsdale maintains 90 miles of roads with 12 salt spreaders and 20 plows; Scarsdale covers 7.5 miles per spreader and just 4.5 miles per plow.

Mamaroneck maintains 44 miles of roads with 6 salt spreaders and 19 plows; Mamaroneck covers 7.33 miles per spreader and just 2.32 miles per plow, the lowest (i.e., best) ratio of all municipalities in the study.

“The math speaks for itself,” said Public Works Commissioner Alex Tergis.


New Rochelle DPW Tackles Large Snow Storms…and Critics

Should New Rochelle Have a Salt Dome? A Few Words With the Salt Guru

Public Works – Snow Storm FAQ

1.When are the snow plows sent out?

The plow operators are dispatched immediately at the beginning of a storm and stay out continually during the storm. They are responsible for clearing over 176 miles of City roads.

2.Which streets are plowed first?

Snow plows first clear primary and major artery streets, school streets, and streets serving emergency response facilities and heavy traffic After those roads are clear, secondary streets are cleared and streets with moderate traffic. Lastly, all other streets, including cul-de-sacs and dead-end streets, are plowed. After a major storm, it may take two to three days for plow crews to clear all the streets (emphasis added).

3.What can I do if snow is blocking access to my mail box or driveway?

During snow plowing operations, the snow from the street will end up in front of driveways and mailboxes. The property owner is responsible for access to his/her individual driveway or mailbox. The only way to avoid extra shoveling is to wait until the Public Works crews have done their final clean-up on the street.

4.What is my responsibility for snow removal?

In accordance with Section 281-4 of the City Code, it is the responsibility of every property owner or occupant to keep the sidewalk and fire hydrants clear from snow, ice and dirt. Snow and ice must be removed from sidewalk abutting their property and fire hydrants before 12 noon of the day after any snowfall which occurs during the night.

Snow Removal Regulations: “In the event of a major snowstorm, the City Manager may declare a snow emergency. All non-essential vehicles are prohibited on City streets during a snow emergency. All snow emergency routes in the City of New Rochelle are posted with red and white signs. Cars must be moved from those streets immediately. All vehicles not moved hamper the snow removal and are subject to being towed. The vehicle owner will be responsible for the towing fee.”

Snow Removal Responsibility: “In accordance with Section 281-4 of the City Code, it is the responsibility of every owner or occupant of any house or other building and any vacant lot, to keep the sidewalk and fire hydrants clear and clean from snow, ice, and dirt. Snow and ice must be removed from sidewalk abutting their property and fire hydrants before 12:00 noon of the day after any snow fall which occurs during the night. It is a violation of the City Code to place snow into the street or abutting sidewalk.”