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10 citations issued after multiple people get stuck in closed areas

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The following is a news release from the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office. | Stock image

Over the past two days, Bonneville County Sheriff deputies have issued more than ten misdemeanor citations to individuals who traveled into closed areas and got stuck in the snow.

Bonneville County Commissioners closed a number of roads in the backcountry on Dec. 21 due to annual winter conditions and for maintenance of snowmobile trail systems, a resolution that happens every year during the winter season. Road closed signs are positioned at the major intersections of these areas, however, multiple vehicles opt to travel beyond the signs, get stuck, and require rescue.

The rescue operations over the past couple of days required a considerable amount of time and resources by deputies, including the use of a snowcat, to make sure everyone could return home safely from the cold weather conditions. One rescue involved an individual in his 60s who had medical issues and recent surgeries, making the situation more delicate for responding deputies. Fortunately, no one was injured in these incidents, however, encountering people with medical issues or a lack of preparedness for weather and/or road conditions is something our deputies respond to often this time of year.

Many backcountry roads will remain closed until spring maintenance by Road and Bridge crews can be completed. Between now and when roads re-open, conditions where Road Closed signs are posted can be deceiving as it appears passable or vehicle tracks travel beyond the signs giving motorists a false impression that it’s ok drive through. However, just like the incidents over the weekend, vehicles traveling beyond the signs until they get stuck in the mud or snow put themselves at risk to the elements and cause severe damage to the road base.

What typically follows is more vehicles traveling beyond the Road Closed signs to help try to get others un-stuck, which in turn causes even more damage to the road base and sometimes Private Property. The result of this damage ultimately causes Road and Bridge to utilize more time, equipment, and resources to make the roads safe for travel before they can be opened in the spring.

Proper maintenance of roads and access to the Back Country areas of Bonneville County is important to everyone who enjoys what it has to offer. Part of that maintenance process requires roads to be temporarily closed during times when it’s unsafe to travel and to prevent costly damage that requires repair. Motorists should always remember, just because a road looks passable where they see a posted Road Closed sign, doesn’t mean it’s safe or legal to drive on it. A Misdemeanor Citation for driving past a Road Closed sign and into closed areas could result in a fine and costs associated with vehicle recovery and damage to property.

Remember, Road Closed signs and other traffic control devices are posted for your safety. The more motorists can do the safe thing by obeying these signs, the safer and more accessible our roadways can be. To access maps of closed and under construction areas of the over 1000 miles of Bonneville County maintained roads, click on the maps link at www.bonnevillecountyidaho.gov. No matter what time of year, always be prepared for quickly changing weather and road conditions, especially in the remote backcountry areas of Bonneville County.

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