PLAINFIELD — In the midst of one of the worst mud seasons in recent memory, the road crew in Plainfield is being commended for its work to keep the roads passable.
Mike Nolan, the town’s road foreman, said his crew has been hauling gravel and using it to smooth out roads that get ruts from the mud. Nolan said hauling has to take place in the morning while the dirt is still frozen. Otherwise, the sun warms up the roads in the afternoon, turning them into mud, and at that point, trucks will leave worse ruts and tear up the road.
“So far I think we’ve kept up pretty good,” he said.
Bram Towbin, the town’s road commissioner, said the work the road crew does can be made harder because sometimes the gravel piles it pulls from are frozen solid. Towbin said the trend lately of not having a defined winter and spring changeover, with warm patches followed by more freezing temperatures, makes the situation worse. He said “it’s been rough going” for the road crew, but they’ve done a great job.
The crew of three, including Nolan, is responsible for the maintenance of the town’s 40-plus miles of roads. Towbin said the road crew is doing everything possible to keep the roads in the best shape it can.
“You couldn’t ask for a more dedicated group of people,” he said.
Towbin said whenever he contacts Nolan about a road that needs attention or a tree that fell down, Nolan is already aware of it and is in the process of dealing with it.
“I cannot express how much these guys are dedicated to the job,” Towbin said.
He said residents will likely see rough spots in the road every quarter mile or so and very bad spots every four or five miles, but the road crew is doing what it can. Towbin said Nolan, who’s been working on the roads for decades, is the paradigm of what a road foreman should be.
“He knows his stuff. He doesn’t want any glory; he just does the job and does the work,” he said.
Towbin said the road crew as a whole has a work ethic that’s hard to find these days. He said people are now more comfortable with fixed hours and nice working environments.
“These guys are on call 24/7. This time of year especially,” he said.