PISCATAWAY, NJ – Winter Storm Jonas swept through the region over the weekend, dumping 27 inches of snow on Piscataway in 24 hours, setting a new record for the town.
At Tuesday night's Township Council Meeting, council members praised the Department of Public Works for its efforts in clearing the massive amount of snow from close to 400 miles of township roadways.
Mayor Brian C. Wahler assured residents that by 6 p.m. Monday most streets had received at least one pass from a plow since the storm began late Friday night. But, with so many streets in Piscataway, there is “always a possibility a street could be missed,” said Wahler. He added that with the amount of snow present, most streets are taking a lot longer to clear, but roads were becoming passable again.
Snow plow crews were faced with many difficulties in removing so much snow, including plowing in blinding conditions, and not being able to maneuver around the many snowbound cars that were left parked in the middle of streets when roads became impassable.
Township Business Administrator Joe Criscuolo expressed his appreciation that no DPW staff had any accidents as conditions worsened. Clearing the snow became “a monumental process since this is the largest snowfall this town has ever had,” he said.
Both Wahler and Criscuolo acknowledged how tough conditions have been on residents noting that so much snow can’t be quickly moved.
But not all Piscataway residents were happy with the timeliness or quality of the snow removal process.
Laurie Mann expressed her discontent with her street not being plowed until 2 p.m. Tuesday, and with only one side having been completed. “My house is still blocked by the snow, and my neighbor across the street is completely clear,” said Mann.
And Katherine Greeley wanted to know what was going to be done about the very large snow mounds left on many street corners, creating hazards as drivers “can’t see cross traffic at intersections.”
Wahler reminded residents that “all of Central Jersey is going to have snow-related issues for the next week.”
For Piscataway, “Everyday this week crews will begin salting roads at 6 a.m., returning late in the day to plow after the sun has helped melt some of the accumulations. Mother Nature is helping the efforts with 40-degree weather,” he said.
Criscuolo also explained that DPW is getting help from several private contractors in plowing the streets and removing the giant snow piles. He said the township has to follow New Jersey’s public bidding laws in issuing these types of contracts, and unfortunately for this year, did not receive any responses to the town’s first and second bid requests.
In following the law’s stringent criteria, “They were then able to negotiate snow removal contracts with several private companies who have been assisting DPW,” said Criscuolo.
“We would love to have 10 contractors helping,” added Criscuolo. “If people know someone who wants to help plow, have them call the township.”