Every winter has a tendency to be a unique experience for both county residents and for Bonner County’s Road & Bridge Department. Although we are quite early in official winter season, the snow events of the tail end of 2017 have proven “interesting” for the road crew. Judging by the volume of phone calls received in this office, plenty of residents have found our county road winter maintenance rather interesting as well.
Several things have made this winter distinctly unique for us besides an early November heavy snowfall, including the abundance of heavy snow on Dec. 19, 2017, which brought down hundreds of trees on the roads. Last Tuesday and Wednesday, our operators were spending an inordinate amount of time dealing with downed trees and did not cover their plow routes as thoroughly as they would normally. This has created another set of road conditions.
What is happening all over Bonner County right now is an unusually deep snow floor on the roads is too dense for the trucks to cut, but is erratically breaking up from the dehydration of the last few days dry, cold weather. Now we are trying to cut the ice floor loose with graders and depositing very rugged berms in driveways that people are very displeased with, but it is the only way we can truly clean up our roads. We apologize for dumping this road debris in your driveways, but we are not set up to handle roadsides differently.
The Road Department has been dealing with the normal range of break downs and operator absences that reduce the number of plow rigs on county roads on any given day. We have not yet found our normal nighttime operators, but hope to fill those positions very soon. Our plow operators often are on the road by 4 a.m. and can only work so many hours, so there have been times we simply have not plows out in the evenings when snow has been falling.
Steve Klatt is director of Bonner County Road & Bridge. He can be reached at 208-255-5681, ext. 1.