Department of Public Works Director Reviews Snow Clean-Up
Several readers had questions about snow removal in Fredericksburg, and I was finally able to catch up with Department of Public Works Director Doug Fawcett.
Fawcett and his team of about 30 staff worked round-the-clock on two 12-hour shifts Friday morning, Jan. 22, through Monday evening Jan. 25, to deal with the winter storm that left 14 inches of snow in the city.
Since Tuesday, staff have been working regular day shifts to continue the snow removal. A few people are assigned to an overnight crew tasked with treating re-icing.
Now that all streets have been plowed at least once and melting has begun, crews are focused on clearing storm drains to accommodate the melting, uncovering fire hydrants and clearing the high piles that block sight lines at intersections.
Who is in charge of which streets?
The Department of Public Works is responsible for all streets in the city — which are those in the 22401 zip code. “Many homes that are not actually within the city limits have a Fredericksburg mailing address,” Fawcett said.
If your zip code is 22407 or 22408, you live in Spotsylvania County
If your zip code is 22405 or 22406, you live in Stafford County
What snow removal equipment does the city own?
– 13 large dump trucks and 7 one-ton dump trucks, all with plows and nine with salt spreaders
– 3 backhoes
– 2 Bobcats
What are citizens’ responsibilities?
“There is a city code that requires a property owner to clear the sidewalk adjacent to their property within 24 hours of a storm,” Fawcett said. “The city will be reasonable, as we understand it is more difficult for some,” he said. Fawcett said the city hopes neighbors will help neighbors.
While Fire Department and Public Works crews go out to uncover fire hydrants, residents can help with this, too. “We encourage residents to help us clear sidewalks, fire hydrants, handicapped ramps and street corners covered with snow,” he said. Staff is limited, and the public’s assistance is a great help. “We are urging a community effort,” he said.
Why does the city contract to have snow hauled from downtown?
The city bids a contract each year for downtown snow removal “in case we need it,” Fawcett said.
“There’s simply nowhere for the snow downtown to go,” he said. Merchants would have to put sidewalk snow in the street, and city crews would have to put street snow on the sidewalks. “In the neighborhoods, residents can pile snow in their yards,” Fawcett said.
“Hauling the snow from downtown helps merchants and city staff more quickly resume something close to normal operations,” he said.
Who do you contact if you need help with snow removal, water main breaks, etc?
The Department of Public Works phone is answered during business hours, 8:15 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The number is 540-372-1023. After hours residents should call the police department non-emergency number at 530-373-3122. This would be for major things, like water main breaks. City staff do not shovel driveways or dig out cars.
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