Is Providence’s Plowing Understaffed?
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
The City of Cranston had 140 plows out for 320 miles of roads. To the north, Worcester, Massachusetts had nearly 400 pieces of equipment out for less than twice the area of Providence, according to John Hill, spokesperson for the City of Worcester.
"We have just just over 500 miles of roads to be plowed," said Hill on Tuesday, who said early in the day that the city had "nearly 400 pieces of equipment clearing the streets."
"Obviously, we could always use more. It almost always comes up in budget discussions," said Providence City Councilman Kevin Jackson, who was first elected to the council in 1995. "It's usually a question of asking whoever's the DPW director if they feel they have adequate equipment. We rely heavily on private contractors, as opposed to the increasing the fleet. There are less trucks now than there were 20 years ago."
The City of Worcester notes the four hundred plus fleet is a combination of city and private contractors; the City of Providence didn't respond to request for breakdown.
"I'm not sure what a city such as Worcester's situation may be, but we have DPW trucks, and parks department, we also have water supply trucks, and we almost always bring in private contractors," said Providence City Council President Luis Aponte, noting for the latter the city has a list of vendors.
"So the question do we have enough city capacity? Probably not," said Aponte. "We supplement with private vendors that we utilize."
Aponte noted that each storm presented its own "unique challenges."
"Each one has its challenges," said Aponte. "Because of the colder temps, this was a softer, lighter snow. And with this wind, we're pushing snow up against that wind. There's an expectation things will be passable on Wednesday, but we'll see. There are benefits to this type of snow -- because it's not wet and heavy, we're not dealing as much with power outages."
Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo lifted the travel ban effective Tuesday night at 8 P.M; Providence schools remain closed on Wednesday/
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