Public Works maintains roads in ‘tough’ conditions

February 23, 2023

45.5 hours. 18 inches of snow. $117,638.62 in cleanup costs. 

In other words, just another day at work for Aaron Miklosko, highway and grounds superintendent and tree warden for Concord Public Works, and his crew. 

The above are some of the numbers from the biggest storm of the 2021-2022 winter maintenance year. To meet storms like this— and any storm— Miklosko said the department needs to begin planning during the summer and needs to be ready for the winter by October 15. 

“All the planning starts in advance,” he said, adding that “you never know when the first snow is going to happen. 

“There’s a lot that goes into it,” he said. 

Miklosko said the CPW, or Concord Public Works, is tasked with maintaining 107 miles of public roadways, four miles of private roadways, 44 miles of sidewalks, and 12 parking lots. 

During the initial planning stages, he said the department needs to review contractors—operators, equipment, vehicles, and forecasting—supplies, including road salt and vehicle and equipment parts, and undergo a route review. The planning is multi-departmental: the Concord Municipal Light Plant, Facilities, Public Safety, and Concord Public Schools are all involved. 

That’s lots of work and planning, but Miklosko said they do it because they strive to keep Concord safe. 

“That’s our mission,” he said, adding that they aim to provide “top-quality service” each winter and that employees do this in “the worst conditions possible.” 

“It’s a tough job,” he said. 

Miklosko, who has been working in Concord since 2019, said a winter storm in December of 2019 stands out. It lasted from Dec. 1 – 3, totalling about 51 hours. 

“That was a long storm,” he said. “But it was a good operation.” 

He said an operations team in Concord consists of 25 employed equipment operators, 16 contracted equipment operators, a fleet supervisor, a master mechanic, a snow desk dispatcher and two administrative assistants, along with Miklosko, the assistant superintendent, and the operations manager. There are 18 roadway plowing routes, three sidewalk plowing routes, and one walking route. Sidewalk plowing begins at the same time as roadway plowing, and plowing continues until the snowfall is complete. 

Before the snow hits, Concord Public Works continuously monitors forecasts. According to Miklosko, Concord is also one of the few municipalities that utilized a Roadway Weather Information System, a sensor-based system that provides real-time data like road temperature, air temperature, and humidity. It also provides live imagery. Ultimately, this optimizes treatment, he said. 

For his part, Miklosko, who attended Massachusetts Maritime Academy and worked in the private sector before working for municipalities, said his favorite part of this work is the people. 

“I really enjoy working with people,” he said, noting that Concord has dedicated town employees and great residents.