MONTAGUE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Winter in western Massachusetts this year has featured fluctuating temperatures, which is leading to problems related to plowing in some communities.
While public works crews are finding it easier to clear the snow, they're also noticing their plows are actually damaging the roadways.
"For the winter... it’s been easy on us in a way," said Montague DPW Supt. Tom Bergeron.
Bergeron found time out of his busy Thursday morning managing roadways in town to speak with Western Mass News about how this winter has impacted their bottom line.
"Easier, yet more damaging," Bergeron noted.
Bergeron said that beyond the cost of sand, salt, and drivers, there’s been another element they’ve had to factor into their budget.
"Yeah, the issue we're having...it’s not freezing very much, so the roads are soft and we do more damage with the road scraping off the roads," Bergeron explained.
Bergeron told Western Mass News that they aren’t trying to damage any of the roadways, but with sharp edges, it's somewhat inevitable.
"With the soft side of the road, we have a tendency to take up a lot of dirt or take a blacktop, sometimes curbing, people driveways," Bergerson said.
Typically, they wait until spring or summer to begin their patching, but this year, they’ve already begun the process, with potholes ahead of schedule because of the weather.
"They're ahead of schedule. Yesterday, it was a nice day, so we were able to put some coal patch in them, but today, all that cold patch won't hold when it gets wet, so it’s probably gone," Bergeron added.
The damage isn't limited to roads, telling us dozens of mailboxes and yards are on their list of repairs, but potholes are the most expensive.
Bergeron said their snow and ice budget is already running thin, but the good news is that all roadway repairs come out of a separate budget.
"Our operating budget starts out at about $1.4 million. We have 20 people, we take care of six facilities in town to take care of - four police stations and two schools," Bergeron noted.
While their yearly budget is always tight, they are confident they'll find a way to fit the repairs into the spending.
In the meantime, their drivers are doing their best to limit potential damage.
"We have to be careful and go slow. We don't want to damage any properties. It's more work for us in the spring," said plow driver Kyle Dessette.