Brief Description of Division
The Highway Division is responsible for maintaining over 160 miles of local roadways, bridges, dams, town sidewalks, as well as all Town-owned parks, cemeteries, and recreational fields. Currently there are 18 crew members.
Following are typical Highway Division operations.
Snow Removal and Ice Control
When storms occur during normal working hours, the entire staff may be dispatched to clean and treat roads and parking lots. Outside normal business hours, the Division's foremen are on call and determine staffing requirements. During prolonged storms, crews may be staggered to allow adequate rest periods.
Roadside maintenance typically continues year round as weather permits. Operations include tree trimming and removal, spring litter pickup, roadside mowing, clearing roadside swales and making and installing street signs.
During the winter months, the Division uses cold patch for temporary pavement repairs. As warmer weather permits, permanent repairs are made with hot bituminous pavement on those roadways not scheduled for resurfacing or reconstruction. Gravel roads are reshaped and material added as necessary followed by applications of calcium chloride for dust control.
As the snow melts and ground thaws in the spring, attention turns to cleaning catch basins and culverts to handle spring rains. Catch basins and manholes, which have deteriorated due to long-term exposure to road salt and freeze/thaw cycles, are repaired. The Division is frequently called upon by homeowners or the Town's Conservation Commission to relieve flooding caused by a rising beaver population.
Road and Drainage Construction
The Highway Division generally undertakes roadway reconstruction and drainage installation projects of a thousand feet in length or less. Additionally, the Division constructs extensions to existing drainage systems to correct localized drainage problems.
The Highway Division annually washes each of the Town's concrete bridges and applies a water repellent to retard the damaging effects of road salt and environmental factors. This program substantially increases the life of the structures.
Supervision of Contract Work
Foremen and senior operators provide supervision over contractors providing service to the Town. Contracted work typically includes paving, street sweeping, pavement marking and crack sealing, tree work and other projects.
The Inspector/Foreman makes spot inspections of roadway and drainage systems being built by commercial and residential developers which will eventually be accepted as part of the Town's road system.
The Highway Division is responsible for designing, building and maintaining the Town’s open spaces including its parks, boat ramps, cemeteries, heritage sites, athletic fields, and several municipal building grounds. We interface with a wide range of entities and individuals including the Parks and Recreation Committee, the Heritage Commission, the Conservation Commission, adult and youth athletic organizations, other Town departments and the general public.
Our Best Management Practice policies emphasize sustainability in the use of pesticides, in the conservation and protection of water resources, in the promotion of biodiversity, and in the use of energy. Since sustainable practices are, in the long run, the least costly method of operation, the people of Merrimack can enjoy their open spaces with the knowledge that their tax dollars are being wisely spent, and that the open spaces in their community are being maintained in as environmentally sensitive a way as is today possible.
The Highway Division frequently is called upon to furnish equipment and labor forces for other Town departments. Highway forces have provided site work at Town buildings, moved furniture within and between Town buildings, assembled and auctioned surplus Town equipment and cleared and landscaped land.