Success of winter highway maintenance measured
Success often can be measured in multiple ways. In winter highway maintenance it can be judged by what you accomplish and what you prevent.
That was a conclusion by a traveler who assessed ITD’s performance after a journey on Interstate 15 during one of the most challenging periods of winter. Mike Mansfield of Bozeman, Mont., drove from Ogden, Utah to his home on Feb. 7, encountering severe winter conditions and hazardous roads.
In a letter to the transportation department last week, he offered his appreciation for what ITD and Idaho State Police personnel did to ensure safe travel.
“One constant that day was the presence of Idaho State Patrol vehicles and Idaho Transportation Department plows. I’ve lived in and driven through a lot of snow and ice, and I can’t recall any time that the response to a weather event seemed so well intended and well executed,” he wrote.
“I’m sure that every man or woman who was working that day for the State of Idaho would have rather not been patrolling or plowing, but the fact that they were all out there doing a great job made my travels (and I’m sure, the travels of thousands of others) so much safer.”
Mansfield said the counted more than a dozen vehicles either in the median, ditch or “disabled for some reason on the shoulder.” Without the efforts of ITD and the ISP, the number would have been much higher, he suggested.
The real impact of aggressive winter highway maintenance – snow plowing, de-icing and sanding – is not immediately apparent. It comes in the form of crashes prevented, Mansfield contends.
“When you do prevention work, it’s tough to measure your impact because you rarely know how many incidents you help to avoid, only how many you have to respond to. I can say with confidence that had the staff of the state of Idaho working on I-15 that day not been so diligent in their jobs, many more of us would have been in trouble.
“Thank you to everyone who was out there, and everyone who supported their efforts.”