By Sara Baker
Ada County Highway Commissioner
There has been a lot of discussion regarding the unusual winter storms we have had this winter in Ada County. What has been in short supply are facts. So below are facts regarding the storm, the response and the cooperation.
We have had 35.5 inches of snow this winter – so far. Usually, it comes then melts then comes again. This year it came and stayed. And more came and stayed. And more came and stayed again. There have not been conditions like this since records were kept from 1892 much less 1985-86 that we keep hearing from the media.
ACHD employees charged with plowing, sanding, de-icing and reducing flooding have been working 12 hour shifts, one group on – one group off, around the clock since December 10, 2016 through January 25, 2017. That means that these people were working on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day and every weekend for 46 days straight with only 2 days off.
ACHD has 58 pieces of equipment, including 37 plows, 7 graders/loaders, and various de-icing units which spread mag Chloride and sand.
We have supplemented ACHD equipment with a ready reserve of seven private contractors that we put into place two years ago for just this situation. Together they bring 23 additional plowing units to the table.
ACHD was able to use the National Guard to help with snow plowing during their training week. While normally ACHD maintains the State Highways in Garden City and Boise (Chinden, Glenwood, Broadway, the Connector) during this long snowy month and a half, ITD helped maintain those roadways. ACHD also waived fees for HOA’s to contract with landscape companies to expedite their participation.
In the spirit of cooperation and mutual aid, we had great help from the cities throughout the county. Mayor Joe Stear of Kuna and Mayor Stan Ridgeway of Eagle ran skidsters to help clear local roads and sidewalks. Meridian activated school kids and Boy Scout Troops to clear sidewalks and drains. Every city’s police and fire departments helped with clearing storm drains and helped notify ACHD of critical areas. Garden City pitched in with front end loaders to help clear side streets. Boise used contractors to help clear downtown parking spaces.
We received three emergency calls from emergency service providers of which all three were met quickly, including plowing a Boise City Fire Station’s driveway.
Ada County has 4783 lane miles, 7965 discrete residential roads, 2915 cul-de-sacs and almost 25,000 storm drains. All of these received the same 35.5 inches of snow.
ACHD has had to close Warm Springs Ave to traffic near the Mesa, because rocks and boulders are shedding from the unstable hillside.
Finally, be thankful we are not Weiser in Washington County. They are in a real State of Emergency declared by the Governor. And in the spirit of cooperation and mutual aid, ACHD has sent a piece of heavy equipment to Weiser to help them through this trying time.
Those are the facts.
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