Contrary to popular belief, the GUARDIAN is looking for examples of good governance and one of the best examples we can find on a local scale is the Ada County Highway District–ACHD.
The agency turns 40 this week and–not surprising–had its genesis in bad government. They like to say the issue was potholes, but it was much deeper.
When each city had its own street department and the county had a road department, there was always the issue of ANNEXATION.
The city wouldn’t fix roads outside the city limits and the county officials were loath to make improvements only to be gobbled up by the city. Hence, a 1971 election created what is touted as a “model system” to place road planning, construction, and maintenance under one countywide district.
Along with the highway system, ACHD began a commuter ride van program that now claims 900 riders aboard 94 vans from Oregon to Mountain Home. The brag an estimated 13.8 million miles were saved by the program.
The cities and ACHD have had their differences over the past 40 years, but taken as a whole, the roads, bike paths, traffic signals, and van pool are valuable additions to the community.
If we could get the same expertise and cooperation on a bus system, we could have something.
There will be a “birthday party” at noon Wednesday at the ACHD HQ building , 3775 Adams in Garden City. If weather predictions are correct, many of the staff will be manning sand trucks and snow plows by that time.
UPDATE 4:30 p.m. Tuesday–
CHD Crews Prepare for Incoming Winter Storm
Ada County Highway District (ACHD) Winter Street Service crews are ready to take on what has the makings of this winter’s first snow storm. Crews got a jumpstart on pre-treating Ada County roadways with de-icer this morning (Jan. 17) in advance of the evening commute and forecasted snow. Thirty five de-icer trucks took to the streets, with a focus on major intersections, hills and heavily traveled roads.
Using de-icer on the roads before the evening commute will allow the rush hour traffic to help spread the product over the road, which will provide for good coverage before the snow starts falling. De-icer works as a pre-treatment to help prevent snow from sticking to the roads and forming ice and also works to melt snow once it’s on the ground.
Tonight, crews will attach plows to trucks and will have sand and de-icer trucks staged and ready to go. ACHD will closely monitor the weather conditions over night and crews will be called in before the morning commute if necessary.
So far this season, crews have been out just three times to treat the roads for winter weather. ACHD’s Winter Street Service supplies are fully stocked with sand and de-icer.
ACHD uses a priority system when responding to winter storm events. Major intersections, bridges, schools and hills are among the top priorities. ACHD staff monitors weather forecasts and road conditions in the early morning hours and throughout the day during weather events. ACHD also works closely with Ada County Dispatch on requests for sand or anti-icing applications from police or sheriff deputies.
ACHD provides Winter Street Services to more than 2,200 miles of local roads in Ada County. State highways including Eagle Road, Chinden Boulevard as well as the Interstate and the Boise Connector are managed by the Idaho Transportation Department.
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