– The meltdown –
It’s been a long time since the flurries of snow have put the muster of District 4 snowplows and their drivers into full action. Nothing more than isolated storms have covered southern Idaho roads since early February, leaving a lot of time for ITD crews to catch up on maintenance jobs.
“Spring fever,” District 4 maintenance coordinator Ron Robinson said. “Everyone is starting to get it.”
Brooming, fence repairs, filling potholes and other winter maintenance operations filled the weekly job report for most of the D-4 maintenance crews.
Only Stanley and Hailey crews have been through late February and early March keeping snow off the roads, but those jobs had more to do with spring meltdown than fresh snowpack. There is still avalanche potential on Idaho 21 near Banner Summit, and snow is being cleared from Galena Summit cutout areas to make room for the inevitable rock slideoffs.
“Right now, we’re staging snow slides in the afternoons to clear those areas,” Robinson said.
However, in the lower elevations spring is nearly already sprung with grasses beginning to turn green, few snowdrifts remaining and ever increasing temperatures. Those signs open up the yearly necessity to deal with water issues.
Crack filling, patching holes – “everyone is doing that right now as everything begins to thaw,” Robinson said. "It's the same thing every year, addressing irrigation (water) problems.”
Robinson said despite that spring fever, it would be the end of March before crews start taking off the plows and changing to summer implements.
“Spring can’t be that close. I still have two feet of snow on my lawn (in Hailey),” Robinson said.