As Storm Struck, State Workers Stepped Up

When wind and rain from Hurricane Sandy flared up around the Granite State on Monday, Gov. Lynch called for residents to go home and stay off the roads. But for many state and local workers, it was time to go to work.

Though the Granite State avoided the worst of the damage, workers at the Departments of Transportation, Health & Human Services, Environmental Services, Safety, Information Technology and Insurance, to name a few, sprang into action.

DOT crews were busy cleaning up downed trees along roadways. Nathan Alden, who works out of the DOT shed in Alton, said the crew there worked a long day Monday, keeping at it after their regular day shift ended.

“We never went home at 3:30,” Alden said. “The wind started picking at 2 and we had trees down and debris in the roadway.”

He said he and his co-workers stayed until 10:00 that night, when the winds died down. The day, he said, involved workers splitting up roads and driving around to check on them. “Every trip we would have debris in the roads,” he said.

Alden said other areas saw much worse damage, and he was glad this storm wasn’t nearly as bad as the hurricane that hit last year.

“Irene was a lot worse than this one,” Alden said. “We had almost 70 trees down here. It was pretty much a relief (this storm wasn’t as bad).”

Another big area of concern as this storm hit, thanks to the heavy damage incurred last year during Irene, were the state’s waterways.

Rick Treiss, a DES compliance inspector from the Gorham office, said he wasn’t on the first response list but headed out early Tuesday to look for potential damage to recent stabilization projects on the Peabody River in Gorham.

“This is stuff that was heavily damaged in Hurricane Irene, and they just finished working on some of this stuff a few weeks ago,” Treiss said.

In assessing the site, Treiss said he met with local officials and took pictures to show state officials how projects function during an event. But, he said, a full assessment can’t be done until water recedes.

“Once it does, people from Concord will come up to do that,” he said.

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