IDAHO FALLS — It’s snowpacked county roads like 45th East that have some locals nervous to get out during the winter.
“I think in the last three or four days I’ve seen at least eight cars go off … that I know of,” Bonneville County resident Sam Andrus said.
Andrus, 18, said he was a victim of the poor road conditions when he slid off North 45th East on Monday. He lost control of his car and came to a stop in a nearby ditch. He wasn’t hurt, and his car received minor damages.
“When it happened to him, it really concerned me,” mother Tammy Andrus said.
The Andrus family and their neighbors on 45th East are worried the cause of many recent accidents are roads not consistently being cleared.
However, Bonneville County Road and Bridge Department says every effort is being made to keep the roads as clear as possible, and crews are out plowing roads every day.
“We have upwards of 700 miles of road we have to keep plowed, and subdivisions. We’re out every time it snows,” Road Supervisor Ken Ray said.
But area residents feel like their county roads are the last to be noticed and taken care of. Separate from the city of Idaho Falls, the Road and Bridge Department is solely in charge of clearing county roads.
Although 45th East is considered a secondary road, Ray said the roads aren’t being neglected and snow and ice removal takes time. He said he has more than 40 vehicles out daily taking care of snow.
“You can’t put a time on how long it takes to do a mile.”
“We start with our major arterials, then our secondary roads, and then our subdivisions. We do have a couple of sand trucks and plows that are dedicated to subdivisions,” Ray said.
Ray said not only do they plow, but the crews add more friction to roads, break apart ice floors when snow gets compact, and lay a salt brine on roads to help keep snow from adhering.
“It all depends on the situation,” Ray said.
Crews for the Road and Bridge Department push snow off to the side of the roads, but they don’t have a time frame on how long it takes to clear a stretch of road. Factors like how the snow falls, wind, and how the snow freezes all affect the job.
“You can’t put a time on how long it takes to do a mile,” Ray said.
However, in the event of a snowstorm, it could take nearly a week to clear the all of the assigned county areas.
“If we have a big, major storm, generally it takes four to five days to completely clean up,” Ray said.
As for the Andrus family’s road, a sand truck has been sent out to help with the slickness and crews have begun working through compact layers of ice and snow on the roads.
“I know a lot of traffic has been increasing on this road, so I really want the county to start taking better care of it and everything so people are more safe while they are driving,” Andrus said.
Natalia Hepworth, EastIdahoNews.com
Nate Sunderland, EastIdahoNews.com
Stephan Rockefeller, EastIdahoNews.com