SANDPOINT — After county commissioners declared a state of emergency last week, local roads are beginning to improve.
According to Bonner County Emergency Management director Bob Howard, county road conditions are still far from ideal. However, they are now all passable by at least one lane of traffic.
“The rainfall water has receded since the situation that came up around Thursday, Friday and Saturday of last week,” he said.
That’s an improvement from last week, when washouts, mudslides and other obstructions made about a half-dozen roads impassable. Since that point, Bonner County Road and Bridge crews worked to keep the roads as open as possible.
This week, they succeed in clearing each problematic area sufficiently to prevent full closures.
“The roads are passable, but they’re not yet in their preexisting condition,” Howard said.
According to a statement made last week by Bonner County Commissioner Cornel Rasor, the road damages totaled to a half-million dollars in repair costs. However, Howard said the weather will need to warm before significant improvements can occur. Road and Bridge crew efforts are stymied by still-frozen ground. Because of those conditions, the water is unable to seep into the earth, complicating repair efforts.
In his work with road crews, Howard said they’ve done an impressive job in managing the crisis and dealing with upset residents.
“Bonner County Road and Bridge crews have been very cooperative throughout this process,” he said. “I’d ask that people be patient as they’re working on this.”
Until road obstructions can be removed completely, Howard recommends that drivers proceed carefully as they drive. Snow can often mask or obscure the real road conditions, and Howard suggested drivers be mindful of signs, cones and other indicators of danger.
“At this point in time, people should just drive cautiously and take it slow,” he said.