Ada County Highway District crews anticipate completing the plowing of the majority of neighborhood streets by noon on Sunday, after having cleared most major roads and high-priority areas.
At the same time, the District is working other local governments to prepare for potential flooding from melting snow and possible snow/rain over the weekend.
“That plowing estimate assumes Ada County avoids a major storm this weekend, which is the current weather forecast. The National Weather Service in Boise anticipates a slow melt-off through the weekend, despite the likelihood of up to three inches of new snow by Sunday morning,” said ACHD spokesman Craig Quintana.
As of noon Friday, Quintana said ACHD has made progress with snow removal following the record-setting storm that left fifteen inches of snow on the ground.
He said ACHD has nearly completed plowing of arterial (big) roads, collectors (mid-sized), major intersections, overpasses and bridges, hills and the areas around hospitals, schools, fire stations and railroad crossings. Still to be done are center turn lanes, and right- and left-hand turn pockets. Crews have completed about 95 percent of these projects, Quintana pointed out.
Plowing of school routes is also about 95 percent complete.
Residential area plowing is estimated at 55 percent complete. “The goal is one plow pass down the center of most streets. One major exception: cul-de-sacs are not being cleared because ACHD’s plows are too big for the dead-end streets,” Quintana explained. “Depending on the amount of new snow fall, ACHD anticipates clearing the majority of residential streets by Sunday afternoon. Plowing will recover sidewalks and driveways, and ACHD apologizes for the unavoidable inconvenience.”
ACHD has run its entire snow response fleet round-the-clock since Tuesday evening, sending out into the field 37 plow trucks, 5 road graders (bigger plows), 14 anti-icing units, 2 front-end loaders, and 12 road graders from construction contractors.
Additionally, Boise City has provided three plow pickups to assist ACHD crews, and the City of Kuna is clearing downtown streets with two backhoes and a small loader.
The City of Meridian and Boise are clearing sidewalks, and looking to clear storm drains.
The Idaho Transportation Department is assisting in snow removal at the intersections of local roads and state highways – Chinden Boulevard, Glenwood Street, etc.
ACHD has issued 21, no-charge permits to contractors hired by neighborhoods to clear streets in advance of the District’s plowing.
“Looking ahead, the warmer temperatures expected this weekend and new snow/rain have raised concerns about potential flooding,” said Quintana. “The District is working with Boise, Meridian, Garden City, Ada County, Ada County Emergency Management and Idaho National Guard to prepare for flooding. Given the predicted slow melt and small precipitation, the expectation is spot flooding issues instead of widespread inundation.”
ACHD has five vacuum trucks to suck up puddles and ponds, 37 plows to open snow berms, backhoes to dig out clogged drains and 17 vacuum sweepers, which can be used to suck up water. Boise, Meridian are Garden City have pledged five vacuum trucks -– two, two and one –- respectively, if flooding exceeds the prediction.
ACHD is asking for the public’s help in clearing blocked storm drains. The District has released a map of drain locations, which can be accessed at www.achdidaho.org. During the past week, many residents have shoveled snow into streets, blocking gutters and drains, and ACHD's plowing has also covered many of these inlets. Those drainage systems will only work if there’s a clear path for the water to flow, officials stated.
“Please don’t shovel into the street,” said Tim Morgan, ACHD Deputy Director of Maintenance. “We have a lot of stored water to drain and we want it to flow freely to avoid problems.”