Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 26, 2014

County seeks uniform salt, sand policy for roads

■ County may have to conserve supplies in case of long winter.
By DIANE VANCE Ledger staff writer | Feb 11, 2013

The Jefferson County Board of Supervisors agreed the road maintenance crew needs to follow a consistent policy about spreading salt or sand when clearing snow and ice.

The clarification came up during a discussion of snow policy removal at the supervisors meeting today.

“I don’t see anything in the manual that prohibits adding salt or sand,” said Supervisor Becky Schmitz.

County Engineer Scott Cline said road crews clearing the roads can spread materials, “but if it’s a long winter and we’re going through materials, we may conserve so we don’t run out before the end of winter,” said Cline.

“It does come down to money,” said Supervisor Dick Reed.

Supervisor chairman Lee Dimmitt said he understands it costs money, but there should still be consistency throughout the department.

“If our policy is to only spread materials at intersections and corners, that needs to be uniform and each driver doing it the same,” said Dimmitt.

Schmitz asked if the county is responsible to clear snow when others have pushed the snow off their properties onto the road.

“Part of the snow removal policy is not obstructing the roads,” said Cline. “And the opportunity is certainly created when someone clears their driveway and pushes the snow across the road to the other side. Often, it dumps pushed snow on the road or creates ridges.”

Audience member Jack Ritz said the other side of that is the county grader pushing snow and leaving a ridge at property driveways.

“If you can push the snow to the downstream side of your drive instead of across the road, it helps,” said Cline.

“I know, the same thing happens with me, because I live in the county, also,” said Cline.

“The graders are pushing the snow along and get resistance from the sides of the road from the snow pushed to the side, then it hits the end of an open driveway and the grader has no resistance and the snow naturally drops off the blade,” he said.

Cline said the county code of ordinances is on the county website www.jeffersoncountyiowa.com. On the Engineer’s page is a link to the ordinances.

“Anyone can view the county ordinances online if they have a question,” he said.

Cline reported he’d had a discussion with Fred McElwee, director of auxiliary services for Fairfield Community School District.

“His drivers have reported a road where the turn-around is getting soft,” said Cline.

Reed said many in the county still “have a bad taste in their mouths” from about three years ago when weather made the roads soft.

“The only thing we can do is keep an eye on it and put rock on it when needed, which is an expense,” said Reed. “I don’t see us embargoing any roads.

“We ask people to use common sense, and trucks that need to take feed to livestock, could do that earlier in the morning when the roads are still frozen, that could help everyone,” said Reed.

Cline said the county’s insurance sent a check for $10,000 to the county for windshield repairs made for drivers who encountered flying rocks on Salina Road last year.

“So we’re settled up, then?” said Reed. “We spend $13,000 and got back $10,000. We may want to see about pursuing a lawsuit.”

Reed asked Cline to discuss the probability with the county attorney, and also check with outside attorneys who specialize in road issues.

Cline said the county’s actual expense for the windshield repairs was more like $17,500.

 

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