UPDATE (12:35 p.m.; Feb. 9, 2013) -
Foxborough officials received an update at noon Saturday on the town’s condition as Blizzard 2013 starts to move away from the region.
Foxborough DPW Director Roger Hill said his department’s focus remains on the clearing the main and secondary roads. Trucks are beginning to salt those areas of town.
“We will not be doing back roads yet,” Hill said. “I’m not going to touch the sidewalks yet.”
Hill said his employees have been out clearing roads for over 40 hours now and at some point they will need to take a significant break.
“I would say the guys are going to be able to work a little longer but they are going to have to crash for a little bit,” Hill said. “We will get as much done as we can. I doubt we are going to get into the schools at all Saturday.”
It is becoming more likely that schools will not be opened Monday due to the amount of snow and the inability to clear the facilities at this time but no decision has been made.
“There’s really no talk among the superintendents at this time about Monday,” Schools Superintendent Debra Spinelli said. “We still have a day-and-a-half. Everybody is kind of waiting to see where how much progress each town makes so no one is chatting yet. I imagine we will do so Sunday morning.”
Hill said the DPW won’t be able to clear schools until some time Sunday at the earliest.
“I wouldn’t count on Monday too much right now.”
He will have more information for officials during a 3 p.m. conference call.
As for other incidents around town, Foxborough Police Chief Edward O’Leary said there hasn’t been too much activity on the roads but did report a minor accident between a motorist and a plow truck.
“Nothing significant,” O’Leary said. “A minor accident because somebody hit a plow or a plow hit them. There were no injuries. It was a private plow.”
O’Leary said that for the most part, residents are paying attention to the Governor’s travel ban but he has noticed more pedestrians out and about.
“The ban is still in effect and Gov. Patrick has not reduced it,” O’Leary said.
O’Leary said Patriot Place is closed Saturday.
Foxborough Fire Deputy Chief Steven Bagley said that since 9 a.m. Saturday the fire department has responded to only one medical emergency.
“It was a fall and a non-transport,” Bagley said.
Bagley added that National Grid liaison Tom Coughlin left town around 11:15 a.m. and was reassigned to Fall River.
“They have it pretty tough down there,” Bagley said.
Coughlin told Bagley before he left the area that Attleboro was having a problem with its Union Loop, which is affecting the downtown Attleboro area. National Grid has identified the problem and it is being worked on. The problem is not expected to have an impact on Foxborough.
Council on Aging director Vicki Lowe asked that residents check on their fellow neighbors, especially the elderly folks in town.
Foxborough Town Manager Kevin Paicos said if the status quo remains for the remainder of Saturday then the Blizzard of 2013 will become strictly a snow plow operation in Foxborough.
“At some point this becomes a plowing operation,” Paicos said. “Unless something significantly changes shelters will be taken off the table and this becomes strictly a snow plowing operation.”
ORIGINAL STORY - Foxborough officials and department heads held a Saturday morning conference call to assess the town’s condition during Blizzard 2013.
The conference was overwhelmingly positive, with the only concern being the condition of the roads. As a result, public safety officials are asking residents to stay off town roads until notified it is safe to travel locally.
Here’s a summary of Saturday’s conference call:
DPW Director Says Roads Are Being Addressed
DPW Director Roger Hill says the main roads and secondary roads are passable but “not ready for primetime.”
“The problem is up until around 2 a.m. [Saturday] the temperature was around 31 degrees and right after it started to drop like a rock and it’s all ice on now,” Hill said. “We got a lot of pack out there.
“What we need to do is scrape because there’s no sense in trying to push back the side drifts.”
Hill said plow drivers have been up for “about 38 straight hours” and are a “little bit tired now.”
Some DPW workers are getting some rest Saturday morning to recharge before refocusing their efforts on the roads later in the day. All private contractors are still on the roads plowing.
“My expectation is some time later Saturday when we get some bare pavement showing we will be able to push back the drift and open up some of the back roads,” Hill said. “We are going to use the V-plows for that.”
Hill says he thinks there is 24 inches of snow flat in Foxborough as of Saturday morning.
Hill reported some broken equipment but nothing the DPW couldn’t fix on the fly.
Hill says he is hoping the storm stops by 2 p.m.
Foxborough Police and Fire Report Few Calls; Caution Residents to Stay Off Roads
Foxborough Police Chief Edward O’Leary and Foxborough Fire Deputy Chief Steven Bagley said they’ve received less than 10 calls and all have been minor.
“Calls have been primarily alarm calls,” O’Leary said. “Not very many of those. Other calls have been assisting fire service on medical. … Crucial thing is to limit traffic. … Even though the snow is winding down and as good as Roger [Hill] has had his guys out there, the wind is backing up roadways such as Chestnut and other secondary roads.”
Said Bagley: “Since noontime Friday we’ve only had three medical transports. Two non-medical transports and one fire alarm.”
Perhaps the best news to come out of Foxborough Saturday morning is that there has been no power outages reported during the blizzard as of 9 a.m.
“It’s amazing,” said Town Manager Kevin Paicos.
National Grid’s Foxborough Liaison Tom Coughlin agreed.
“It is amazing that we didn’t at least have house services down,” said Coughlin. “I think what happened is when the temperature started to drop the snow gets less dense and it starts to dry out so some of the trees and power lines were relieved of some of the pressure. That probably helped us quite a bit.”
Senior Population and Veterans Safe and Accounted For:
The town’s Council on Aging director Vicki Lowe and Veterans Service Agent Michael Johns reported Foxborough’s elderly population is safe and accounted for.
“With the power still up there are no issues,” John said. “We’ve got the folks on standby. We are good.”
Said Lowe: “Everything is good and very quiet. I think we were pretty well prepared for the storm. There’s no loss of power and things seem to pretty good.”
National Grid Update
National Grid Liaison Tom Coughlin said with no reported power outages in Foxborough he may be called to another part of the state to assist in restoration efforts.
“I may have to leave if there is nothing here because we have a lot of customers along the South coast and South Shore that are in need of significance service,” Coughlin said. “We lost the transmission line in Southeastern Massachusetts serving quite a few communities.”
Locally, the Union Loop was not compromised, which kept power on in Foxborough.
Coughlin said another National Grid liaison will likely replace him in Foxborough but assured the town that he is only a phone call away.
“I can return to Foxborough at any time if needed,” Coughlin said.
Paicos said he understood the situation and appreciated National Grid’s communication during the blizzard.
“We can’t be selfish about this,” Paicos said. “We utterly don’t have any need right now and I don’t see the situation changing in any meaningful way. We could have a branch come down anytime but on the other hand any meaningful outages it is just not going to happen.”
Coughlin said of the six crews stationed in Foxborough, two will remain in the area to serve Foxborough if needed.
“They are going to send crews where they are needed and in this zone it is Franklin, Plainville, Wrentham and Foxborough,” Coughlin said of National Grid. “It looked like we had seven crews assigned and 10 contract crews. They are probably going to be deploying all the contract crews. We are going to leave two crews serving the four towns just in case something comes up. They will be based in Hopedale.”
Officials will hold another phone conference at noon for another update.