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Harvard Shovels Out Funds To Clear Snow

By Pedro V. Moura, Contributing Writer

Harvard University’s Facilities Maintenance Operations (FMO) spent roughly $20,000 for every mile of sidewalk and road cleared of snow last year, more than twice what the City of Cambridge paid per mile over the same period.

The Cambridge Department of Public Works (DPW) spent $1.1 million in total on snow removal to clear 125 miles of public roadway and 18 miles of sidewalk last fiscal year, according to Lisa Peterson, commissioner of the DPW.

According to Wayne Carbone, head of snow removal for FMO, Harvard spent about half a million dollars last year removing snow from the University’s five miles of roadway and 20 miles of sidewalk. FMO’s purview does not include clearing at the Harvard Business School, the Harvard Medical School, the Radcliffe Institute, and the University’s athletic facilities.

“Snow removal has no set budget [at Harvard],” said Carbone. “We bill each faculty accordingly.”

According to Carbone, 60 FMO workers are stationed throughout campus ready to clear snow.

“The manpower is really where we spend a lot of money,” said Carbone.

A lot of hand shoveling is done, which takes time and physical labor, he said. The FMO also uses 35 pieces of equipment, divided about equally between street and sidewalk clearing.

The City of Cambridge, by contrast, uses 60 pieces of snow clearing equipment, with 16 or 17 pieces clearing sidewalks while the rest clear the roads, according to John Nardone, assistant commissioner of DPW.

Peterson acknowledged that the city had simpler tasks when it came to plowing snow.

She said that plowing a straight road, as the city of Cambridge usually does, is a lot easier and less time consuming than plowing the small, private roads that Harvard snow removal teams have negotiate.

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