Ada County Highway District

ACHD's Road Wizard Sunday, February 4, 2018 ACHD's Road Wizard

ACHD sweeper trucks are working the streets during this year's mild winter; Collister Street north of Hill Road had a new-pavement construction delay due to higher-than-expected work bids; left-turn-only sign on Parkcenter Boulevard to Highland Street doesn't mean that U-turns are restricted

The Road Wizard Replies

Dear Road Wizard: During mild winters when ACHD's diligently plowing snow from our roads and residential streets, why aren't we noticing a diversion of equipment and manpower back to the mundane, but very necessary, work of street sweeping? Our gutters and storm drains are still clogged with leaves and some trees are still dropping. What is ACHD doing during this "winter breather" to reallocate its resources?


Road Wizard:

Crews have been sweeping - not sleeping - on the job. Sweeper truck drivers are working the roads as long as it isn't freezing and the streets are clear of snow and ice.

The bulk of the sand that was used during the snowfall over the holidays has been collected, and trucks are now assigned to routine sweeping of leaves, garbage, etc.

There is plenty of other necessary work to be done, and snow plow vehicles also serve as regular work trucks that are used on a daily basis.

There are storm drain and irrigation pipes to repair, drain pipes to be cleaned and inspected, as well as ditches, shoulders and alleys to grade. The little rocks used for chip sealing need to be hauled and staged for summer use, and areas ready for a chip seal are being cleared of in-the-way vegetation.

Even with relatively balmy winter temperatures, there are still weather-related issues to attend to. With the Boise River at its low winter flows, ACHD crews are reinforcing bridge piers that were worn away during the historically high spring river flows last year.  

Mild winters are one reason why ACHD hires contractors during major storm events. Seasonal workers are hired in the spring and summer for the same reason. That way, regular employees have plenty to keep them busy, snow storms or not.

Dear Road Wizard: Hill Road and adjoining streets were chip sealed in 2016. If I remember correctly, Collister Drive north of Hill Road was not chip sealed because it was scheduled for new paving during the fall of 2017. That did not occur.  Is there an explanation?

Dan W.

Road Wizard:

This part of Collister was selected as a "Federal Aid Capital Maintenance Project."  ACHD gets federal funds to repave deteriorated roads each year. But the bids for the work came in higher than expected and the federal cash wasn't enough to cover it.

The bids were rejected, and the list of roads on the to-do list was reduced. This resulted in a yearlong work delay for Collister as the bidding process had to start over again. But this time the cost was on budget, and Collister from Hill to Quail Ridge Drive should be repaved by fall 2018.

Dear Road Wizard: I was driving east on Parkcenter Boulevard and needed to make a U-turn. I got in the left-turn lane for Highland Street and thought with three oncoming lanes I could easily make a U-turn, but the sign indicated left-turn only. I obeyed the sign and proceeded on Highland and turned around. When I returned to Parkcenter, there was a sign saying "Right Turns Yield to U-turns."  Please explain.


Road Wizard:

U-turns are allowed from non-signalized intersections in Boise unless there is a "No U-turn" sign. However, the left-turn-only sign may imply the opposite.

ACHD will look at making it more clear. Perhaps "U"  are not the only one to be confused.

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