Parking restrictions, DPW cleanup efforts eyed as countermeasures when winter sends its worst
Village of Fredonia officials concede there is nothing they can do to protect residents when winter’s fury is heading in their direction.
However, trustees said at last week’s Village Board meeting there may be some steps they can take to make any storm’s aftermath easier to deal with.
Like every other Ozaukee County municipality, Fredonia’s public works crew more than met their match in the Dec. 28 winter storm that dumped nearly a foot of very wet snow on the community.
The heavier-than-predicted storm was taxing for personnel and equipment.
Compounding the problem, one of the village’s DPW plow drivers was on vacation and a truck used for plowing was in the shop.
“We ended up getting twice as much snow as they predicted. It was a very long day,” Public Works Director Roger Strohm told trustees last week.
Strohm said the plowing operation started at 3:15 a.m. and continued straight through for about 12 hours.
“The loader blew a hydraulic hose during the morning, which left us with one truck and the loader with only a plow blade,” Strohm said in a memo to trustees.
“The heavy snow quickly became more than the truck could push, requiring frequent stops to unload snow. This also required a change in the typical plowing pattern from turning right at intersections to plowing straight through.”
Private plowing companies were contacted for help, but Strohm said “everyone was up to their eyeballs in snow.”
The village was able to get a little relief when the Village of Belgium loaned two trucks for about an hour.
The storm presented a “worst-case scenario which we haven’t seen in years,” Village President Don Dohrwardt said.
“I expected to get a lot of static about that snowfall.”
Even after the roads were finally cleared, village officials heard from residents who protested that the road slop often ended back on sidewalks and driveways.
Fredonia Avenue resident Scott Roberts, who has a large corner lot on a hill, brought his snow concerns to the board with a plea for some relief.
“I don’t mind plowing 300 feet of sidewalk, but after I shoveled our sidewalk clear and scraped off all the ice,” Roberts said.
“I went out the next morning and our sidewalk was filled with these frozen balls of ice from the road. We are scared it is going to get to a point where we won’t be able to get out of our driveway.”
Because the family has a retaining wall along the sidewalk on their property, he said there is virtually no place for shoveled or plowed snow to go.
All the mailboxes on his block are located along the north side of the road, which makes it less critical that the roadway be cleared of all snow and ice from curb to curb to provide access to mail trucks.
“Maybe we could close the parking lane in the winter so we have some place to put the snow,” Trustee John Long said.
Then Dohrwardt raised an even more drastic solution, taking a cue from the DPW crew in the City of Port Washington.
Dohrwardt said he would someday like to see village crews be able to use heavy equipment and dump trucks to haul away mounds of snow from the tight quarters on Fredonia Avenue.
“If we could use a backhoe and loader, in a couple of hours we could clear the critical areas — places where there is nowhere to go with the snow,” he said.
Additional money would have to be budgeted for such thorough clearing operations, so Dohrwardt said they couldn’t be scheduled this year.
“I can’t make any guarantees, but you can be pretty sure we won’t see a storm like that anytime soon,” Dohrwardt said.