The city of Boise is working on plans to help Ada County Highway District clear snow from residential streets, the city announced Thursday.
The highway district has primary responsibility for maintaining public roads throughout Boise and the rest of Ada County, but record snowfall has overwhelmed the streets. The district has prioritized snow removal on heavily traveled routes and steep roads, but many residential streets remain unplowed.
“Additionally, warmer weather and potentially significant rain over the weekend and early next week may create drainage challenges that could be alleviated with an ongoing snow removal effort,” according to a city news release.
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The district says it’s using its entire fleet, which includes 37 plow trucks, 14 de-icing vehicles and other equipment, around the clock to remove snow. That’s a big effort, but in a county with 4,800 lane miles, snow removal is big job.
“We tried to hire commercial contractors Tuesday but none wanted to do it because they are already committed to commercial property contracts,” district spokeswoman Nicole DuBois said.
Boise doesn’t normally get involved in snow removal, is trying to help, but these are extraordinary circumstances.
“The fact of the matter is that we don’t have a streets department, and therefore, we don’t have the kind of equipment that we need to in order to do some stuff like this,” city spokesman Mike Journee said. “But we’re looking at what we can do.”
On Thursday, city crews were working to clear sidewalks and on-street parking in the Downtown area with the goal of making public transportation routes more accessible, the city announced in a news release Thursday afternoon.
The city also was planning efforts to remove snow from sidewalks along major transit corridors outside Downtown, according to the release.
Mayor David Bieter could declare a state of emergency, which would take effect for seven days and would enable the city to drop standard procedures such as soliciting bids, so that the city could rent equipment much faster than normal.
“We don’t know yet that we need to do that,” Journee said.