Highway Department

Highway Superintendent: Clifford Coffin (R, 2021)

  • Litchfield Town Garage:  (315) 894-2935
  • Emergencies:  Cell   (315) 794-1478
  • Home: (315) 822-6909  

Deputy Highway Superintendents: 

  • First Deputy: John Coy
  • Second Deputy: Peter Dugan

The Highway Department takes pride in their work to keep the 26.5 miles of town roads well maintained year-round, including snow removal on the 60.3 miles of combined town and county roads.  They strive to do this work as efficiently as possible with a small crew which is also responsible for much of the vehicle repair and maintenance. 

Regular scheduled hours for our Town highway crew are 6:00 am - 2:30 pm. In the event of overnight snowfall, or there is significant drifting, the Highway Superintendent may commence plowing earlier. The goal is to make one complete pass on every roadway before primary commuting time. Evening plowing, if necessary, will usually stop before 8:00 pm, allowing drivers necessary rest before their next day’s work. 

Snowplow operation is exhaustive work which requires the driver’s full attention for safe operation. The early morning plow operator you see is the same one out in the evening, still removing snow during stormy conditions. While the NYS DOT can afford to run crews 24/7, at the town level we have neither the traffic, highway miles, nor funding to do so. The Department works with a defined labor budget, and occasionally the salaried Highway Superintendent will plow the entire town himself to avoid calling the crew in.

Recently a decision was approved to move away from using sand as the primary aggregate for traction, and convert to what is known as B’s (or fine stone gravel) for road treatment.  This combined with salt in a “hot mix” formula has been in practice for the last two years. Switching to B’s was not without vice as the cost is a significant increase for the Town, particularly since we previously mined our own sand. The quality of the final product, being increased safety and reduced mess, was the deciding factor. Stone and salt are mixed and stockpiled in the off season at the Highway garage by our employees. We haul our own aggregate from the quarry. 

We have an extensive fleet including plow trucks, backhoe, snow blower, and loader all in use during winter months.  All equipment is inspected and tested prior to winter so necessary repairs can be done before being needed in the coming season. Most repairs to trucks and equipment are performed by town employees. Some examples include rebuilding material spreaders, dump truck boxes, hydraulics, brakes, and plow blade cutting edges. Recent upgrades and new trucks have reduced the repair load and increased the reliability of the fleet.

The responsibility for ordering equipment and personnel into service for a winter maintenance operation rests primarily with the Highway Superintendent or his designee. This creates a delicate balance in avoiding excess overtime which allows the town to have money for necessary equipment replacement and upgrades, while still meeting budget restrictions.

There are several things that the public can do to help all travelers and residents during the winter months:

  • Drive as conditions permit. Slower during snowy times and decreased visibility.
  • Ensure rural mailboxes are in good repair. If they become damaged during plowing operations by our town vehicles, we will try to fix it.  
  • Plowing involves taking over the roadway. Trucks may have to turn around in intersections or traffic lanes occasionally as the best alternative to continue plowing paths. Please allow them the right of way when approached.
  • Crowning a hill you may encounter a plow with both wings out. Please slow down so they have time to raise them and move back into a single lane.
  • Do not allow children to play in “bermed” snow along the road. This is dangerous anytime, especially when plows are adding more snow removed from travel lanes.
  • Do not plow snow into the road, or across the road.  It is a violation of state law to deposit snow in the road as it is dangerous. Any snow that is inadvertently placed in the road must be immediately and completely removed, including windrows or plow-tracks.