Supervisors, roads department field calls about county snow removal
Jefferson County Board of Supervisors discussed snow removal with county engineer Scott Cline at today’s board meeting and feasible ways to track where secondary roads crews had plowed and where they would be at various times after a storm.
“I fielded some calls last week, and I know I wasn’t the only one, about county road maintainers and where they were and when they would get to a specific road,” said supervisor Dick Reed.
“I had a hard time saying when they would get to any particular residents’ roads.”
Reed asked Cline if he thought he and his staff could figure out some type of snow removal tracking or schedule.
“We need some kind of communications between the road crew and the office,” said Reed. “I realize weather conditions change and that could change your schedules.”
Cline said drivers do keep in touch with the engineer’s office by radio.
“Do you think there’s a formula or are there routes drivers follow?” supervisor chairman Lee Dimmitt asked Cline.
“I know the roads were soft and the trucks couldn’t go out full [of sand and salt]; maybe we need to re-think the overtime policy,” said Dimmitt. “We’re not trying to micro-manage, but thought it’s a good idea to discuss this and see if any changes need to be made.
“I think it’s critical when folks call in, someone should be able to say when their road will be cleaned, especially when it’s three of four days after the storm and plows haven’t been there yet,” said Dimmitt.
Supervisor Becky Schmitz said one of the problems is people reporting no one had been to clear a road all week.
“As it kept snowing last week, if we knew someone had been out there at least once, it would have been helpful to say that,” she said.
Dimmitt acknowledged that the county plows clear hard surface roads first.
“I think if we sit down and look at the policy and discuss if there’s anything we can do to help you guys,” said Dimmitt. “Have our eyes been tilted too much toward the budget? If your guys work long hours during the week clearing roads and then not work weekends, all the progress gained can be undone with more snow on a weekend. We need to make sure roads are clear for emergency vehicles, too.”
Norton Giltner, an audience member at today’s meeting, said he lives on Carnation Boulevard west of Newberry Avenue.
“Nothing happened all week,” he said. “I was having trouble getting up the hill to 192th Boulevard to feed cattle. Then I saw a school bus and the driver was being cautious, but it had to go up that hill, too, and it was pushing snow in front of it all the way. School bus routes should be a first priority.
“I don’t know the crews’ schedule and we don’t have storms often like we had last week,” said Giltner. “I felt it wasn’t cleared out soon enough, and I represent the township. The road should have gotten cleared earlier.”
Dimmitt asked Cline to schedule a time when the road crew could discuss snow removal with the supervisors.
Cline agreed and said the snow last week was continuous, covering up some roads that may have already been cleared.
“I got a call about no one having been to clear a certain road, and in fact, the crews had made one pass on it,” said Cline.
“With the warmer temperatures the roads were soft, the snow was turning to water and to preserve the roads, the crews had to go slower,” he said.
As for tracking locations of county plows, he said that could be difficult without having someone dedicated to tracking.
“I can tell people approximately when a plow will get there,” said Cline.