ACHD Watching Incoming Weather, Preparing for Snow and Flood Prevention

ACHD crews have prepared the major roads for the storm expected Wednesday and Thursday with anti-icer, and will be ready to plow, sand and deice as needed, depending on the amount of snowfall. The amount of snow/rain and the timing of the storm remains a moving target.

Here's where things stand after a month of snow fall and cold not seen since the 1940s, according to the National Weather Service:

  • Plowing and treating arterial (big) roads, collectors (mid-sized), major intersections, overpasses and bridges, hills and the areas around hospitals, schools, fire stations and railroad crossings is complete. ACHD's goal is to finish work within 24 hours of the end of the storm.
  • Plowing of school routes -- done. The target here is within 36 hours of the storm's end.
  • Residential area plowing will be done within three or four days of the endACHD plows in action of the storm -- or earlier as progess allows. Nearly all of the residential thru streets have been plowed, and most all of the cul-de-sacs have been treated. Because of the close quarters, the cul-de-sacs may only receive a single pass with a grader, so residents should expect a bit of a bumpy path to the smoothed area.

ACHD has run its entire snow response fleet nearly round-the-clock for the last month, fielding:

  • 37 plow trucks
  • 5 road graders (bigger plows)
  • 14 anti-icing units (when needed)
  • 2 front-end loaders
  • Up to 14 road graders from construction contractors
  • Additionally, Boise City has provided plow pickups to assist ACHD crews, and the City of Kuna is clearing downtown streets with two backhoes and a small loader.
  • The City of Meridian and Boise are clearing sidewalks, and looking to clear storm drains. Boise has contractors clearing parking spaces on downtown streets. Contractors for Meridian continue to clear neighborhood streets with front-end loaders, and city firefighters have unplugged major storm drains.
  • The Idaho Transportation Department has assisted in snow removal at the intersections of local roads and state highways – Chinden Boulevard, Glenwood Street, etc.Grader plowing snow

Additionally, ACHD has issued some 60, no-charge permits to contractors hired by neighborhoods to clear streets in advance of the District’s plowing. Click here for a permit application.

Flooding concerns: Looking ahead, slightly warmer temperatures and melting snow has raised concerns about potential flooding.

The District is working with Boise, Meridian, Garden City, Ada County, Ada County Emergency Management. Thus far, most of the issues seem to be more spot ponding issues instead of widespread inundation.

ACHD has five vacuum trucks to suck up puddles and ponds, 37 plows to open snow berms, 5 backhoes to dig out clogged drains and 17 vacuum sweepers, which can be used to suck up water. Boise, Meridian are Garden City have pledged five vacuum trucks – two, two and one – respectively, if flooding exceeds the current expectation.

The District’s priorities for addressing water problems will be:

  • Safety issues
  • Property protection
  • Nuisance water – ponding that doesn’t threaten lives or property

The public also has a role to play in the prevention of flooding, as ACHD asks for help in clearing blocked storm drains. The District has released a map of drain locations. During the past week, many residents have shoveled snow into streets, blocking gutters and drains -- and ACHD's plowing has also covered many of these inlets. Those drainage systems will only work if there’s a clear path for the water to flow.

See map of storm drain locations

“Help us help you,” said Tim Morgan, ACHD Deputy Director of Maintenance. “A little more shovel work can keep your property dry and help the overall effort.

“And please don’t shovel into the street,” he continued. “We have a lot of stored water to drain and we want it to flow freely to avoid problems.”

Background on ACHD's approach to winter maintenance

Sand bags: The District has received numerous inquiries about sand bags to deal with potential flooding. Ada County is providing bags and sand to residents and some city fire and public works deparmtents are also making materials available. Our partners in some city fire and public works departments are handling the distribution of any bags, which are supposed to be used only for flood prevention.

Ada County is providing sand and bags for residents; there is a limit of 10 bags per household, and sandbags are only to be used for property protection for nuisance flooding. Individuals will need to fill their own bags and provide their own shovel. Sandbag locations and hours are Barber Park, from sunrise to sunset, and Expo Idaho, west parking lot, open anytime. Also, the Eagle, Kuna, Meridian and Star fire departments are also distributing bags to city residents. Get details here.

For further information, call:

  • Star – Fire Department, 286-7772
  • Eagle – Fire Department, 939-6463 (Bags, sand and shovels available at Fire Station No. 1, 966 Iron Eagle Dr. Limit: 10 bags)
  • Meridian – Fire Department, 888-1234. Residents must fill their own sand bags. (From Noon to 8 p.m., 10 bag limit.)
  • Kuna – Fire Department, 922-1144, 150 W Boise St, Kuna. (10 bag limit)