ACHD preps, purchases new plows ahead of winter months

ACHD begins to prep for winter.

BOISE - We all remember last winter, even if we don't really want to. One agency that's using last year as a learning experience is the Ada County Highway District. 

"Normally here in the Valley we don't see that happening a lot where we have so much snowfall where people are literally unable to get out of their neighborhoods," said Nicole DuBois with ACHD.

Although the official start of Winter is nearly 100 days away ACHD is getting ready and learning from last year. 

"Different agencies are saying different things so we're trying to gear up just in case it happens to fall in that direction," DuBois said. "We're hoping for the best but preparing for the worst."

Over the last month they've started to check their equipment - including 14 new plows for their smaller trucks.

"It's not as simple as making an order," said DuBois. "It takes a few months for these large pieces of machinery so it was something that we built up to this year to add more plows."

They've also added five more "floating" employees who can be deployed at any location to help out. 

"Our crews worked seven weeks straight in 24-hour operations so yeah, we were stretched thin in terms of our resources and equipment and manpower," DuBois said.

When it comes to resources there are a couple of additions. For one, there are two new salt and sand sheds for storage.

"There were a few times where we weren't short but there were a few times we were waiting for a shipment coming in from Salt Lake, and those trucks were having a hard time getting to us," said DuBois.

They're also using blue dye that is added to the salt mixture so truck operators can see where the salt is hitting the road and adjust their spread pattern, and also so operators from another shift can see where the road has already been treated. 

It's still too early to say how this winter will turn out, but it's never too early to get ready.

"It was a difficult winter and I hope this winter isn't the same but we're much more prepared," DuBois said.

Another major change is that ACHD is now making it easier for homeowner's associations to hire their own contractors to plow their neighborhoods. 

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