Record snowfall is being hauled out of downtown, one 10-ton truck at a time

  • A Concord city snowblower works on clearing a sidewalk on Hall Street near the KFC parking lot in Concord. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Snow from around Concord is piled up in a lot next to the transfer station on Wednesday. GEOFF FORESTER photos / Monitor staff

  • The snow piled up from all the truckloads of snow from clearing the Concord streets at the lot next to the Concord transfer center on Wednesday, December 23, 2020. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • A front loader from Frank Merrill Trucking piles up the delivered snow from around Concord.

  • A front loader from Frank Merrill Trucking piles up the delivered snow from around Concord in a lot next to the Concord transfer station on Wednesday, December 23, 2020. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • A Concord work crew and dump trucks from Frank Merrill Trucking clear Storrs Street in downtown Concord on Tuesday, December 22, 2020. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 12/23/2020 2:09:05 PM

Removing Concord’s record snowfall from downtown has taken somewhere around 800 round-trips of 10-ton trucks so far.

“We had 24 inches of snow come down in about 13 hours of time – that’s a pretty intense snowfall. It affected the ability of crews throughout the state to keep up,” Chip Chesley, director of General Services for the city of Concord, said Tuesday. “It gets tiring. You can hear it in my voice.”

The storm made a mess of the downtown parking scene at the height of holiday shopping, leaving many on-street spaces packed with snow. 

The state’s snow removal program on highways has been struggling to keep up this winter partly because it is hurt by COVID-19.

New Hampshire Public Radio reported that about 30 employees of the state Department of Transportation have been diagnosed with COVID-19, while social distancing requirements have upset the traditional method of training new snowplow drivers by riding along on routes, which has worsened an already existing shortfall in drivers licensed to drive the commercial vehicles.

In Concord, downtown snow removal is mostly a two-step process. First, snow is pushed into long windrows. Then a pair of industrial snowblowers owned by the city drive along these rows and blow snow into the back of trucks. These 10-ton dump trucks haul it to the city’s snow-storage area near the transfer station on Old Turnpike Road, roughly a six-mile round trip.

Concord hired 12 trucks from private contractors for the work, Chesley said.

Downtown snowblowing starts at 11 p.m. most nights, although Friday and Saturday nights are curtailed so that roads don’t have to be closed early when people are going to restaurants, Chesley said.

(David Brooks can be reached at 369-3313 or or on Twitter @GraniteGeek.)

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