Before the first flake fell, DPW was mustering the troops

BLOOMFIELD, NJ — On Monday, it was all hands on deck at the Bloomfield Department of Public Works. With a mere 20 hours before the first flakes were expected to begin falling, sections of streets had already been brined. The forecast was up to 2 feet of snow and high winds, beginning early Tuesday morning.

“It will stay cold, cold,” DPW Director Anthony Nesto said in a telephone interview.

Because of the freezing temperatures, snow was not expected to turn to rain and wash away the brine. It would melt the first snow, making it easier for plows later on.

“We have 27 pieces of equipment,” Nesto said at the time. “Twelve of them can salt. Ten out of the 27 are big plows and they all can salt. And we have three loaders.”

Nesto shouted an order away from the telephone, apologized for interrupting the interview, then shouted another order.

Forty-five DPW personnel were ready, he said. Ten would be shoveling sidewalk. Three mechanics would be on-duty. The town was divided into 10 zones; three plows to a zone. But some of the plow drivers also did tree work. If the winds made damage, that could complicate things. But there was enough salt to cover the town twice over. Nesto said his goal was to have Bloomfield residents back on the road again by Wednesday morning, 7 a.m.

“I started preparing on Saturday,” he said. “We’ve been to this rodeo before. We ask the residents to be as patient as possible. Plowing is very tiring and stressful.”

His biggest concern, he said, was working his crews 30 straight hours. Food and sleep had to be squeezed into the schedule.

“The first wave of guys will be coming in at 3 a.m.,” Nesto said.
That would be about the time the snow was expected.

“The rest will come in by 7 a.m., normal time,” he said. “During the blizzard, not a lot will get done. No one should be on the road.”

If the weatherman is true, Nesto said Tuesday would be “a day removed from the earth.”

“It’s as if Tuesday never existed,” he forecast.