Dickinson County Engineer Dan Eckert Gives A Reminder On Policy For Plowing Secondary Roads

Tue 12-3-2019

(Spirit Lake )-- Snow removal on secondary roads was a topic of discussion at today's (Tues.) Dickinson County Board of Supervisors. It came on the heels of last week's winter storms that dumped upwards of a foot of snow on some parts of the area. Dickinson County Engineer Dan Eckert says the county's policy states that blacktop roads take the priority for plowing with gravel roads next in line. Eckert says there's also a provision under which county road crews will be called out if an emergency is declared...Secondary Roads Snow Removal01 

"Our policy states that, you know, if loss of property is imminent and loss of life is probable to be declared an emergency, and that has to be declared by the law enforcement or medical professionals. And if that's declared, we will go anywhere any time of the night, of course, right up into people's yards, driveways, whatever, to respond to that kind of emergency. So it's important for people to know that you know, they've got to prepare for the storm, especially if it's a blizzard situation and to hunker down, but on the other hand if there is an emergency call 911 and we're certainly 24-7 365 responding to that."

Eckert says the storms the past week posed some special challenges to his crews...Secondary Roads Snow Removal02 

"This one was really unique in that we had the wet, wet, heavy snow and so it was tough to move. And anybody that shoveled a driveway or a windrow at the end of a driveway knows how tough it was to move, and so that locked, frozen down on the gravel roads which, you know, it's difficult to take that ice off of the gravel road without removing, you know, hundreds of thousands of dollars of gravel as well, but then the snowstorm Saturday night-Sunday morning with the strong wind, especially the amount of snow they got up northwest by Lake Park was really deceiving the amount of snow, and the amount of snow that was moving with the wind. I kind of figured initially it would be heavy enough that you wouldn't see a lot of blowing and drifting but that was certainly not the case in the northwest part of the county."

Eckert says crews are using the break in the weather this week to get ready for future storms...Secondary Roads Snow Removal03 

"The guys are all out pushing back we call it, trying to get as much ditch space, trying to get the drifts, the high drifts, pushed back in preparation for the next storm. It's a long way to April right now, so we've got to try to make as much snow storage as possible. To have ditches full already on the third day of December is a little nerve wracking."

Eckert says of the some 31 years he's been county engineer, he's never received as many calls about a snow storm than he did about the one last week.