ACHD NEWS: Ada County Highway District Gears Up for Winter Operations

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Ada County Highway District

For Immediate Release

Ada County Highway District Gears Up

for Winter Operations

ADA COUNTY — As Ada County gears up for the return of winter weather, the Ada County Highway District is gearing up to make sure the roadways are safe for all users this winter.

Preparations for the winter season started well before the temperatures started to drop. ACHD crews have spent the past several months preparing for the season, including training, checking equipment, and familiarizing themselves with their routes.

This winter, crews will take on the snow and ice with 67 units, 43 of them mounted with snowplows. 156 team members will help manage winter operations, with contractors on-call for major winter events.

ACHD has the capacity to store 300,000 total gallons of magnesium chloride, 7,500 tons of rock salt, and 7,500 tons of a sand and salt mix. This year, ACHD will also be using salt brine as part of a pilot project to test its effectiveness in the area.

The equipment and materials are managed by two facilities- one in Garden City, and one in west Boise- to reach all parts of Ada County.

“Each winter season is unique, and our crews have spent the past several months preparing for all types of weather conditions,” said ACHD Maintenance Manager Lloyd Carnegie. “Our crews stand ready 24 hours a day to make sure everyone can travel safely on the roadways this season.”

ACHD winter operations include several components to make sure everyone can travel safely.

Road Priorities

ACHD manages more than 5,300 lane miles across Ada County. When winter weather hits, roadways are prioritized as follows:

  • Priority 1: arterials, collectors, major intersections, overpasses, bridges, hospitals, fire stations, railroad crossings, school crossings, and streets with grades over six percent
  • Priority 2: School bus routes and vulnerable populations
  • Priority 3: Residential streets including cul-de-sacs

Snow Removal Permits

The Ada County Highway District allows contractors and citizens to remove snow and ice in ACHD’s right-of-way by obtaining a no-charge Temporary Use Right-of-Way Permit. Since residential roads are considered Priority 3, the permits allow Homeowners Associations to hire contractors to plow the neighborhood roads, meaning neighborhoods can be cleared of snow faster. More information and the permit application is available on ACHD’s website.

Storm Drains

As snow and rain move through, residents are reminded to do their part to keep storm drains clear. When drains are blocked by ice or debris, water can pool and freeze, creating icy spots on sidewalks, in driveways and in the roadway.

ACHD’s storm drain map can help residents find their nearest storm drain. If a storm drain is blocked by debris or ice, neighbors should clear it to allow water to move through. Residents should not try to remove the grates.

Winter Reminders

As ACHD prepares to keep the roadways safe, residents can also do their part to make winter travel easier:

  • Before expected weather, drivers should move cars off the street wherever possible. This allows snowplows better access to the street and keeps cars from becoming buried in snow.
  • Sidewalks are the responsibility of the adjacent homeowner or business. Alleyways are also not included in snow removal operations.
  • Those who live in cul-de-sacs should also be aware that ACHD will gather snow in the middle of the cul-de-sac but will not remove the snow.

Driving Safely in Winter Conditions

  • On the road, drivers should never pass snowplows on the right-hand side of the plow and give them plenty of room to complete their operations.
  • Like all vehicles, plows have blind spots, and they are often distributing snow and ice fighting materials. For safety, avoid following too closely. The safest driving space is at least 30 feet behind the plow.
  • Drivers should take extra caution when following other vehicles to account for additional stopping distance.
  • Before heading out, drivers should check the tread depth on their vehicle's tires, and replace tires if the tread is too low. Low tire tread can lead to poor traction in adverse weather conditions.
  • Drivers should clear the entire windshield, headlights and taillights of snow and ice before driving.