Plowing Crews Facing Almost Daily Battle Of Keeping Roads Open

Tue 3-5-2019

(Spirit Lake)-- The harsh winter continues to pose some real challenges to keeping lesser traveled roads open. Dickinson County Engineer Dan Eckert says the deep snow cover and ongoing wind is causing problems almost daily now, especially on secondary and gravel roads...Eckert01 (2) 

"It just doesn't seem like it ever lets up and so, you know, this morning with that strong west wind the last two days the north-south roads are all a problem and the east-west roads are real good, so it's just kind of a matter of chasing the wind in a different direction it seems like every day lately."

Eckert is also reminding everyone of the protocol that's used in plowing county roads...Eckert02 (2) 

"Certainly the paved roads are the first priority and then we try to break loose as soon as we can once we've gotten those passable and open, to gravel roads and then your priorities there are going to be the school bus routes and where people live and things like that. We've got an awful lot of roads we open that nobody lives on and so those become lower priority roads."

Eckert adds the ongoing battle with the extreme cold and snow is also causing a lot of wear and tear on equipment...Eckert03 

"Snow removal is just tough on equipment in general. When you throw in the real cold weather we've had too, that doesn't help a whole lot with the hydraulics and things of that nature so certainly we've had a lot more equipment expense this year than we're used too of course."

As far as the county's overall snow removal budget is concerned, Eckert says there isn't cause for alarm...Eckert04 

"The saving grace there is that winter didn't really start until the middle of January so we're in pretty good shape there. But yeah, we'll be in good shape, but I think we'll probably exceed what we originally thought we were going to spend by the time spring finally rolls around but we'll be alright."

Eckert says what's really needed right now is temperatures that would get warm enough to put a crust on the snow cover to keep it from blowing around.