The following are just the highlights of the work that the Public Works Department performs during an average year, on the 66.5 miles of Harwinton’s roads and additional winter maintenance on many of the Lake Association’s pass-ways for a total exceeding 70 miles. Much of the information provided here is for work done each year in varying degrees much as the chores around your home.
1. Remove snow, ice, sleet, and apply deicing agents to the highways & pass-ways during winter storms.
2. Replace and upgrade failed cross-culvert pipes as well as repair many header walls from flooding damage.
3. Clean and maintain numerous roadside drainage swales and runoffs.
4. Sweep the entire town paved road system of winter debris using a Regional Government Association’s, (of which Harwinton is a member) owned sweeper. The Town houses and maintains this sweeper and receives a reduced rate for doing so, when compared to other towns that rent the sweeper. Even the regular rate is much better than the Town used to pay when renting from a vender.
5. Shape, grade, add gravel, and roll 3.5 miles of gravel roads numerous times throughout the year because of increased traffic volumes and heavy thunderstorms events.
6. Install new, rebuild, and repair, catch basins and their tops. Some of these basins are installed in areas where there were existing cross culvert pipes. This is an ongoing project that the Town has undertaken to help make our roads safer by eliminating those deep holes from along the highway shoulders.
7. Normally we would vacuum clean approximately one-third of all Town owned catch basins using the Regional Government Association’s, (of which Harwinton is a member), owned truck. The fee charged is at a reduced rate from our past practice of renting from a vender. This is an ongoing program, which cleans most of our basins on a rotating schedule and with the Town’s elimination of winter sand use we have be able to gain on this function.
8. Apply liquid calcium when needed to our gravel roads to stabilize the surface and to control dust.
9. We usually try to fit in drainage and road widening projects each year. The Department reworks and adds catch basins, under drains, paved swales and widens the paved surface of the roads as needed, all of which improve safety, extend road life and in some of these areas it eliminated deep gutters to aid in safety and maintenance.
10. We resurface with bituminous concrete as many miles of highway as the budget will allow, although the cost of blacktop has increased significantly over the past years, which has affected how much we can pave on a fixed budget. We are concentrating on doing more shimming and wedging and then chipping over it to stretch the budget and hold the roads in the condition they’re in until we can afford to overlay.
11. Shim, wedge, and patch with bituminous concrete, as needed any of the Town’s highways that are scheduled to be chip sealed.
12. Apply chip-seal finish to over an average of seven miles of highway, or around 100,000 square yards, which is just about the same as each year even with the increased cost of the emulsion oil used in chip-seal.
13. Sweep up loose chip stone from the above operations. The stone is recycled for use on the gravel roads, and for pipe drainage work.
14. We repair broken and damaged curbing and add curb where erosion issues require it.
15. The Department supplies services for oil, antifreeze, and battery recycling. We supply labor for scrap metal and recently added bulky waste collection days, as well as collecting leaves all year.
16. We do almost all of our own repairs of Town owned equipment, both major and minor, including fabricating, bodywork, servicing, and painting.
17. The Department removes dead and damaged trees from within the Town’s highway boundaries.
18. The Town virtually uses no sand since we have ended sand sealing our roads and are now using treated salt in the winter rather than salt-sand mix. We only very occasionally use a small amount of salt-sand on the roads depending on weather conditions. The Town uses between 2,000 and 2,500 tons of agriculturally treated salt known as Magic-Salt annually.
21. We have a program of roadside and intersection mowing to remove small trees and brush to limit vehicle damage from encroachment and greatly improve site lines. This program really pays dividends in the safety and appearance of the Town’s roadsides.
22. We review and comment on subdivision plans for the Selectman and various Commissions. We issue driveway and road opening permits and do the inspections associated with them, as well as doing the inspections for new road construction, which requires a great deal of the Department’s time to insure the roads are built to Town specifications.
23. The Town is required by law to provide help at some property evictions. When evictions happen the Town is required to pickup any property placed “on the curb” by the Sheriff. Our workers then have to pick up these items and place them in storage for a period of time and when not claimed has to be moved again for disposal.
24. We maintain Harwinton’s recreation area’s, which includes maintenance of the playground equipment at the Charlotte Ryan Playground and the Town’s Tennis Courts. We plow the snow in the parking lot, mow the grass, mulch around the equipment, cut brush and remove dead trees.
25. We maintain many needed issues at all town owned buildings above normal janitorial duties, such as moving snow, salting, painting, sweeping, mowing, small building projects, etc.
26. The Department develops and writes specifications, secures quotes, and inspects all new equipment purchased for the Public Works Department to make sure it will work as planned and meet the life expectancy as set out by the Town’s Capital Equipment Committee.
27. We install new, replace worn, damaged, and stolen signage on Town highways. The Town has a program to upgrade other signage to meet new Federal Standards as we replace signage. These include larger more reflective street name signs, larger stop signs, breakaway posts and mounting brackets the most noticeable. We also have a program of stocking our spare street name sign inventory
28. We provide nearly 20 miles of centerline stripping as well as all the Town’s stop sign lines, and road cross walks.
29. We replace and maintain highway posts and guard rails as needed and install some at new locations as required.
30. We deliver and setup the speed machine as authorized by the Resident Troopers Office to monitor speed issues. We also install traffic counters to check traffic volume. These numbers help the Town determine where increase in traffic may require upgrades to our roads. We have also been installing the structures needed to mount the new electronic speed signage, the location of which is directed by the Selectman and the Resident Trooper.
31. The Public Works Department helps our local fire departments when called upon to provide equipment for various reasons ranging from spreading salt on ice for fires and auto accidents in the winter to excavating rubble at major fire scenes and helping at Haz-Mat incidents.
32. We do emergency work that may be needed after severe storms, which may be removing downed trees, barricading roads and repairing washouts as just some of the reasons for a call out.
33. We assist the WPCA, (Water Pollution Control Association) with permitting for road openings and maintenance of sewer manholes and equipment where they interact with the Town’s highway system.