There’s Always Time For Flowers… Chocolate… And Planning

By Joe Scavuzzo, Director, Department of Public Works

In the U.S., 64 percent of men do not make plans in advance for a romantic Valentine’s Day with their sweethearts. Although I will neither confirm nor deny whether or not this fact applies to me, I can report that the Public Works Department is in planning stages for this year’s activities. While our annual budget proposal process has been completed, we turn to the late winter/early springtime projects that are quickly approaching. Inclement weather can keep our crews unable to safely or efficiently operate. The “slow” days after snow has fallen and plowing is complete prevent us from taking a dead tree down or replenishing playground mulch in a park. We use this time to perform preventative maintenance services on our vehicles, equipment, and facilities.

This “off-season” attention is the result of a late-summer planning session that occurs between the crew chiefs and management. The newest and inherently beneficial part of this process is the input that the Public Works’ office clerk provides as a result of interacting with our residents and general public through e-mail and phone calls. We have been able to identify problem areas, such as overgrown “islands” on our local streets or along railroad tracks. Although these areas may not be the responsibility of the Township, proper planning could eliminate the eyesore in a timely fashion while improving the look of Pennsauken.

A Word On Road Conditions

This is the time of year when water from basement sump-pumps that are ran to the curb start to freeze. This could be the cause of random “icy roads” around town, even when there has been no snow or rainfall. A call to the Department of Public Works at (856) 663-0178 can dispatch a truck to address unsafe street conditions.

Speaking of street conditions, we are entering the magical time of year where “potholes” pop up. One thing I do inform each resident or friend that approaches me regarding issues around town is that your Public Works Department cannot monitor the entire town every day, every week. Pennsauken is 12-square miles in area and our department has 22 field employees; there’s just too much area to cover. We rely heavily on the residents and general public for information on pothole locations and other issues. We welcome a phone call or e-mail to our office and will respond after prioritizing safety issues first. Remember, potholes found on County Roads or State Highways can be reported online to Camden County or the New Jersey State Department of Transportation.

Dealing With Snow

I would like to offer a couple suggestions for the remaining weeks of winter that can make life easier during our snow plowing operations.

For those residents who have driveways: by placing vehicles in your driveway before snowfall begins, our crews can open each street “curb-to-curb,” as they are instructed to. This avoids stretches of street not being plowed, as our dump trucks cannot maneuver between two parked vehicles. For those of you who have ever driven to Florida or any other long-distance road trip: imagine driving for seven or eight hours straight, with the occasional rest-stop activities, cautiously navigating a dark road while it’s raining heavily or snowing. Now picture this: that entire time, with all that driving… you’re still in the same section of Pennsauken that you started in! Having never plowed a street in town myself, I use this little story of mine to remind myself of the patience, attention, and thoroughness each of our drivers put into a snow storm plowing operation.

Depending on the amount of snowfall, we recommend waiting to shovel your driveway aprons. A rule of thumb is that plowing operations will not begin until four inches of the white stuff has accumulated on the street. That being said, if it is supposed to snow for two days straight, similar to 2016’s January blizzard, you should be prepared for two rounds of plowing.

Senior and Disabled Snow Removal

The Camden County Freeholder Board offers assistance to senior citizens and disabled residents who are unable to remove significant amounts of snow accumulation from their properties.

The County’s snow removal program is available to help seniors and disabled individuals get out of their homes for necessities such as prescriptions or medical appointments. The program uses Camden County Correctional Facility inmates who are carefully screened, non-violent offenders who are guarded at all times on the job site by corrections officers. The program is an extension of the facility’s road crew program. The snow removal program will go into effect only AFTER FOUR inches of snow have fallen on the ground in our area.

Calls for snow removal will not be taken until after it has stopped snowing. At that time, at-risk elderly and disabled residents can contact the Camden County Division of Emergency Management at 856-783-4808 ext. 5060.

Work crews will be dispatched only after it has stopped snowing. The work crews will remove snow only during daylight hours from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Crews will respond to calls in the order they are received and will service as many residents as possible each day. There are no guaranteed times when the crews will arrive at a residence.

Senior and disabled residents must call after each substantial snowfall to request this service.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please reach us at (856) 663-0178 or e-mail at

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