National Public Works Week: Taking care of their hometown
May 28, 2017
Windsor Public Works Department
According to the town’s website, the Public Works Department is responsible for the following:
» Monitors approximately 600 million gallons of water that flows into the town from outside providers each year.
» Operates a 2.8-million-gallon per day wastewater treatment facility.
» Maintains 172.75 miles of streets in Windsor.
» Operates a fleet of snow removal equipment, including six snow plow dump trucks, each equipped with sanders; one-ton pickup; five 3/4 pickups; two four-wheel drive tractors, one with snow blower; one motor grader; one front-end loader; and two backhoes.
» Develops an oversight and reinvestment program for infrastructure in the town’s older areas and provides a capital budget plan for streets,
» Responsible for the structural and systems maintenance and custodial needs of all town facilities,
» Oversees the,
Brian Rowe has a sense of pride in his job because he spends much of his days caring for the town he always has called home.
Rowe, street maintenance supervisor for the town of Windsor's Public Works Department, and about half the staff in the department enjoy maintaining the streets of their hometown.
"We enjoy living here and we work here because we want to see Windsor continue to grow and to stand out," he said.
On Thursday afternoon, the five employees of the streets department were hard at work spraying along roadsides for weeds, mowing and doing maintenance on machinery.
About 173 miles of streets are plowed, cleaned and maintained by five employees, Rowe said, though sometimes the length can double or quadruple because the roads have to be plowed in several sweeps.
Depending on weather predictions, Rowe often will lose sleep in the winter as he watches the snow, ready to call his crew if they need to be out in the middle of the night to start clearing roads. But waking up early or not sleeping is worth it, he said, when he and his crew are clearing roads to make sure their families and friends are safe.
"That goes a long way when you have people that actually care about what they do," he said.
Rowe and other street department employees work from around 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., though he said the weather often can dictate when they start and end their work days.
In the summer, wind can mean spraying cannot happen, and spring rains can make spraying, mowing and patching the roads difficult. When rain combines with spring runoff from the mountains, flooding can occur, which means the streets crew gets called out again to put up signs and ensure the public does not attempt to drive across flooded streets.
Public works employees often act as first responders for first responders, Rowe said, as the police and fire departments may need assistance with signage and traffic control in an emergency.
The department is looking forward to a move to the new public works facility currently under construction, especially because storage space for equipment is limited, Rowe said.
A celebration was planned Friday for town employees to honor public works employees and Windsor Police officers for National Police Week.