County engineer reviews snow/ice road clearing policy
Jefferson County Engineer Scott Cline was asked to give a brief outline of the ice/snow removal policy for county secondary roads department.
“We met with the road crew earlier this morning to review the policy, and we’d like to bring the discussion back to the full [supervisors] board so we can have a full discussion so citizens can know what to expect,” said supervisor Dick Reed. “I know we have 850 miles or so to cover.”
Cline said his department is adhering to, if not exceeding the policy.
“It’s always nice to get feedback from the public,” said Cline.
Reed said he knows the state and county have different road clearing policies and it can be confusing to drivers.
“Can you review the policy now briefly?” asked supervisor chairman Lee Dimmitt.
Cline said the county road crew does not go out at night to clear snow and ice, unless there is a declared emergency.
“Generally, we go for the more traveled roads and paved roads first,” said Cline. “When crews complete their section, they can go on to help another section.”
About 16-17 employees are available to clear roads. Each is assigned a specific route to clear. County trucks begin clearing between 6-7 a.m., said Cline.
“Operators start where the equipment is parked and head off in the direction of the highest priority,” said Cline. “We don’t get 100 percent clear to pavement or gravel.”
The county will salt areas most in need, such as hills, intersections and curves, “and other areas that may be worse than others,” said Cline.
Jefferson County Sheriff Gregg Morton clarified about county roads department personnel working at night.
“If there’s an accident where the area is slick, we’ll call for salt or sand, and the county responds,” said Morton.
Cline said yes, that happens, and during this season’s first snowstorm, Dave Duensing, roads supervisor, was called by the law enforcement center dispatch.
“We called yesterday, and they came right out,” said Morton.
Sheriff deputies responded to a two-car collision blamed on icy road conditions on Business Highway 34, three-tenths of a mile east of Exit 210, at 6:37 a.m. Sunday.
Reed asked if Morton had a direct phone number to call the county road crew off-hours. Reed thought it was a good idea to have direct contact so law enforcement on the scene could describe what is needed. Reed said he’s been told road crew staff has arrived in a pick-up truck instead of with highway equipment, which they then need to return to get.
Morgan said the dispatch handles the calls.
“If I have time to describe what’s needed, I can do that,” added Morton.
Dimmitt said if law center dispatch calls for road crew, “personnel should assume they’d need equipment.”
Being advised by law enforcement that roads are getting slick is different than being called out to assist with an accident, said Cline.
The supervisors intend to add the discussion of this policy to a future board meeting agenda.