BOISE -- Winter has just begun and today Ada County Highway District crews were out cleaning up sand used during this season's snow storms.
Sand provides traction for drivers in snowy conditions, but it must be collected after it is used to protect the environment.
ACHD is able to collect sand now because most of the snow from the recent storms has melted.
The collection is beginning much earlier than last year when constant storms prevented a major clean-up until mid-February.
ACHD is picking up sand in the critical areas.
"Those areas include main roads like Fairview, Maple Grove, Locust Grove and Linder," said Rick Davidsmeier, ACHD. "High traffic roads get attention first because more vehicles are driving on the sand, which sends it into the air, and that can be bad for air quality."
Last winter, ACHD used more than 13,000 tons of sand on Ada County roads. So far this year ACHD has used just over 11,900 tons, but may use more if there is additional snow.
The sand from the streets can't be reused on the roads because possible contaminants and garbage is swept up with it.