It’s snowtime for Cranbury

Township responds to the third snowfall of the season.

By: Jessica Beym
   Even though the afternoon wind blowing off Brainerd Lake was biting, it didn’t stop the crowd of local kids from flying down the nearby snow-covered Village Park hill on their sleds and snowboards.
   The popular winter hangout was packed with kids last week who were starting their weekend a day early.
   Cranbury School and Princeton High School closed Dec. 9 after approximately 3 inches covered the ground in the third snowfall of the season.
   Instead of driving up to Mountain Creek in Vernon like they usually do, Princeton High School seniors Kyle Novak, Adam Brunner and Joe Fischer made their own snow jump at the bottom of the hill and were letting the younger kids take turns riding it.
   By 3 p.m., the guys had been outside for almost five hours and had yet to grow tired of it.
   "We’re used to the cold," said Adam, who lives on Scottsdale Court. "I had my jacket off for awhile earlier."
   With a couple hours of sunshine left, Dominique Jones and her children, Jackie, 9, and Owen, 7, pulled into the parking lot to get a few rides in.
   "The kids have been looking forward to this all day," Ms. Jones said. "Luckily, it’s still nice out."
   After sleeping late, Joanna Casey and Elinor Silverman, who are in the eighth grade at Cranbury School, spent their day off hanging out with friends and sledding in Village Park.
   But when they woke up early in the morning, the girls said they were surprised to hear that school had been canceled.
   "Usually they don’t cancel school. We usually just have a delayed opening or something," said Joanna.
   Tom Witt, township administrator and director of the Department of Public Works in Cranbury, said the township anticipated and prepared for up to 6 inches of snow. On Monday, Mr. Witt said that once the snow turned to rain in the morning, the roads were manageable.
   The plow drivers, he said, had headed out to clear and salt the roads at around 3 a.m. after the snow began to fall. By 10 a.m., Mr. Witt said, the majority of the roads were cleared, but snowplows continued to make rounds.
   "The roads were very safe and passable by that time," said Mr. Witt, who has seven other employees working to clean the roads during a snowstorm.
   Mr. Witt said that in the event of a blizzard this winter, the Department of Public Works will hire additional trucks and drivers to plow and salt the roads.
   In a smaller storm, Mr. Witt said the Cranbury Police Department notifies the Department of Public Works when the snow begins to fall and the drivers will head out to salt the roads and prevent the snow from sticking.
   After 2 inches of accumulation, Mr. Witt said each employee is assigned to plow a particular portion of town and they continue to work throughout the storm.
   Mr. Witt said the Department of Public Works has set up approximately seven miles of snow fencing to snowdrifts, but even four to five days after a snowstorm, they continue to salt and clear the roads.
   "When it stops snowing, the Public Works mission isn’t completed," said Mr. Witt.