Brian Adams

Brian Adams - Road Agent
Brian AdamsWilton has had a Road Agent almost as long as it has had roads. Somebody has to oversee the construction and maintenance, allowing people to get out to work. Way back when there were only horses and hand shovels, there were several agents, one for each section of town. The job tended to be seasonal back then, and farmers could work on their own sections of the road, even pay their taxes by doing road work.

For a while, the town had a Department of Public Works under a director, but it is now the Highway Department again and Brian Adams says he’s “just the Road Agent.”  “They decided they had to break it up and put somebody at the Recycling Center,” Brian said recently, recuperating at home from back surgery. “But we still had the maintenance and burials at the cemetery and cover Parks and Recreation, the library and the police station.”

Brian is a Wilton native and a 1978 graduate of the Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative School. He grew up in West Wilton working on the dairy farm owned by his uncle Richard Greeley.

“He had up to 150 cows at one point,” Brian said, adding he was thankful that they had milking machines. Greeley’s was also a well-known cattle dealer and his was the last big dairy farm in town.

He worked on the town roads for a few years in the 1980s, Brian said, and returned to the job in 2001, accepting the top spot when Director Steve Elliott left. In between he worked for Tappley Lumber in Brookline as a logger, for his uncle when he switched to hay and corn, for his father-in-law Dick Tuttle, “and on my own for a while.”

Wilton has “58 to 60 miles of road,” he said, “Twelve of them gravel.” It is those gravel roads that are the most work. “New England weather,” he said. “The thawing and freezing can make a bad ‘mud season.’ The last few years have been terrible plowing a gravel road when it’s thawing.”

Snow plowing is a big part of the job, getting people to work. The town is divided into five routes that are three to four hours long. This year those routes will be longer since the department has been reduced by one man because of the corona virus and loss of town revenue. “We have to divide that up fifth route giving everybody another ten miles.”

 The department currently has four members. “Right now I’m relying on them,” he said. “We’ll figure out something.”

Removing the snow from Main Street is his least favorite part of his job. “It can get tedious, and there’s traffic even at two in the morning.” His other problem is people who plow their driveways into the road, although there is an ordinance against it being developed. “I found one from back when Uncle Richard was a selectman. That one should still be in force.” (Editor’s note: Ordinance 100-25 “Interference with Snow Removal” can be found HERE.)

Rebuilding or relocating the town barn on Whiting Hill Road has been discussed “somewhat seriously for the past five years,” he said.  Before that it was “something we have to do someday.” The garage across from Carnival Hill was built in 1954. “When it was built, it was a good idea for the time, but equipment has gotten bigger. Our main source of heat is still a wood fire, but we have a small propane heater.” A bigger building would be nice. “I believe equipment lasts longer if it is kept under cover.”

He likes the construction part of the job. “I’d like to see all the roads stay in tip top shape but considering the New England weather and the amount of money we have to spend, that is a never-ending job. People don’t understand the procedures and what it takes to do what we’re doing.”

In 2003, Brian and his wife Libby built a log cabin on a hill above Marden Road with a wide view of some of the town he helps take care of. His recent back surgery corrected a long-standing problem, and he will be some weeks recovering fully before being back on the job.

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