BLOOMFIELD, NJ — Everyone who drove through north Jersey on Thursday, Nov. 15, had a horror story after a snowfall — predicted to be mild — instead dumped upward of 7-plus inches in our area. Heading home from work through the unexpected storm, commuters needed hours to reach destinations only a short distance away. Some even abandoned their cars and walked home.
Too bad all roadways are not Bloomfield roadways.
According to Anthony Nesto, the township’s director of public works, following the storm, a kudo posted on social media praising his department read: “I knew I was in Bloomfield because I saw blacktop.”
“We did very well,” Nesto said in a telephone interview earlier this week. “All I know, in Bloomfield we did a good job. We started preparing on Tuesday and most of the feedback for our routes was very, very positive. The roads that are our responsibility for maintaining, we handled very well. Our guys and gals worked very hard.”
On Tuesday, Nov. 13, with only 1 to 3 inches forecast, Nesto had three plans for his 90 miles of township streets.
“Plan A was just to salt with 12 or 13 trucks,” he said. “I think most people did that.”
His Plan B was to salt and plow with the smaller equipment. Plan C was to prepare for the worst and scale back if necessary: to have all the plows and salters ready to go.
“We turned to this plan late Thursday morning,” Nesto said. “We started with 26 plows, 12 which could salt. Three to four had breakdowns. We took care of the town with 22 pieces of equipment.”
The equipment was 10 large dump trucks to salt and plow; four small Mason trucks to salt and plow; and eight vehicles to only plow.
“The biggest part — we knew the weather was going to warm up,” he said. “If it was a freeze, it would have been a big problem. But Thursday was a regular work day. Most people were out of here by 11:30 p.m. or midnight.”
Nesto had his own thought about why commuter woes abounded.
“Unfortunately, because the storm wasn’t forecast, everyone was leaving work at the same time,” he said.
Had a storm been forecast, he said some people would not have gone to work, taken a half-day or left for home early. But instead, most everyone left at quitting time.
“We salted at first,” Nesto said. “At 2 inches, we started plowing. The texture of the snow was heavy and wet. We knew going forward, we weren’t going to salt because it was going to melt.”
Handling the storm were 22 men on plows, three in the mechanic shop and 11 on the ground with shovels and snowblowers clearing out township property. Nesto said one of his biggest pluses for snow removal is that the mayor, council and administrator provide him with full support.
“They know safety is paramount,” he said.
He also commended the police and fire departments for their cooperation.
“It’s all about preparation,” Nesto said. “Praise the Lord I’m obsessive/compulsive. That’s a blessing when it comes to snow removal.”