Ice storm cost Lincoln $3,189, manager says

Posted March 14, 2011, at 9:34 p.m.

LINCOLN, Maine — Keeping town roads passable and free of fallen trees during last week’s three-day ice storm cost the town Public Works Department about $3,189 in wages, equipment rental and fuel, Town Manager Lisa Goodwin said Monday.

In a measure of just how costly and time-consuming such storms can be, the ice storm forced the taking down of 75 to 100 trees, most of which were hauled to the town dump for burning, but many of which were chipped in place or dragged off into woods when woods were nearby, Goodwin said.

The department cut down trees only when not doing so would have created a hazard, Goodwin said. During the storm, dozens of trees were bent over by the weight of ice upon them, forcing them into roadways or against power lines, causing outages and other problems.

Public Works Department Director David Lloyd saved considerable money by renting a wood chipper and chipping the trees where they fell, as he otherwise would have been forced to haul them to the town dump, Goodwin said.

“He said that on the rural roads they chipped the trees and left the chips in the woods,” Goodwin said in a statement. “This approach reduced the time [it took] to complete the cleanup and greatly reduced the [amount] of fuel” consumed by public works vehicles during the storm.

Some brush was hauled to the town transfer station because the chips would have caused an unsightly mess, Goodwin said.

The storm cost about $2,609 in wages, $330 in equipment rental and $250 in fuel, Goodwin said.

Storm cleanup likely will carry over into the summer, Goodwin said, as Lloyd plans to measure street widths on tree-lined roadways and cut down trees that are too close to the roads or utility lines. This will prevent some trees from snagging traffic or utility lines during future ice storms.

Lloyd did not return telephone messages seeking comment on Monday.

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