How ACHD Is Dealing With The Aftermath Of Unusual Snow Year

Jan 6, 2017

Six-and-a-half inches of snow fell Tuesday in Boise, bringing the total snow depth to 15 inches so far this year – a new record. The snow storm prompted the closure of area schools and some businesses, and caused almost 100 car accidents.


“The last 29 years I guess the district looks wise for not investing in plow trucks that they didn’t need," says Ada County Highway District President Paul Woods. "Now on this 30th year I guess one could say: ‘Well how come you don’t have more trucks?’”

In fact, it’s been 32 years since Boise has seen this amount of snow. ACHD has 37 plow trucks to deal with this unusual event.

But this year, that hasn’t been enough. Woods says the plowing priority is main arterial roads, leaving people frustrated with deep snow in residential streets.  

“We have tried to communicate what our priorities are, that doesn’t mean that we are not concerned about residential streets. We are allocating resources and are going to get there.”

Woods says he’s open to learning about best practices from other cities.

So, what city might be a good comparison?

KBSX called Ty Barger, the public works maintenance manager for Lincoln, Nebraska because the city of Lincoln gets about as many average snowy days as Boise – and is about the same size.

“We have a total of 52 different trucks that are capable of mounting a snow plow,” says Barger. That's 15 more plows than what ACHD owns. 

Barger says one of his city’s strategies is to announce what are called “snow emergencies.” Cars parked on streets must be moved overnight, so plows can clear the roads all the way to the curb.

Back in Boise, Commissioner Woods says he’s impressed with the commitment of ACHD employees and the community’s patience. He says the agency is plowing residential streets and downtown before this weekend – when more snow and rain are predicted to come.

Find Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

Copyright 2017 Boise State Public Radio