Ada County Highway District

ACHD's Road Wizard Sunday, June 2, 2019 ACHD's Road Wizard

Rain covers Lake Hazel Road between Black Cat and Ridgewood roads; ACHD trucks have tools on board to clear blocked signs; speed limit on Floating Feather Road west of Linder Road will stay at 45 mph

The Road Wizard Replies

Dear Road Wizard: On Lake Hazel Road, between Black Cat and Ridgewood roads, the west lane is covered with water after the rain.

Anonymous

Road Wizard:

Rainfall in May was nearly twice the average for the Treasure Valley, and this location is a known "little Lake Hazel" water problem. Wet soils and water runoff from the street can be slow to drain, and ACHD is looking at a "sand window" drainage project that should help.

A sand window is created by excavating an area near the road, then filling the void with sand or other material to help drain the water.

ACHD has six vacuum trucks that are dispatched during heavy rainfall, similarly to how crews respond to winter storms, but on a smaller scale. Operators hit the soggiest areas first, but it's challenging to remove all of the water when the ground is saturated like a wet sponge.

Dear Road Wizard: Do the ACHD trucks not carry pruners or pruning saws? I see so many signs, such as speed limit, street signs, no parking, yellow warning signs, all blocked by foliage that just needs to be trimmed. It seems like while the ACHD crews are out on their daily runs, that if they saw a blocked sign, they could quickly pull over and trim the foliage to uncover the sign. I assume it's the property owner's responsibility to trim their plants, but apparently that is not working.

Tim

Road Wizard:

Many of ACHD's regular maintenance and traffic department trucks are equipped with some sort of vegetation removal tool. Crews are instructed that if they see branches that are creating a safety issue, they should stop to clear the hazard to improve sign visibility.

However, more involved overgrowth can require a significant effort, particularly when the branches are thick. It may not be a quick stop, and crews are often busy with other things. Plus, it may be tough to fit the removed materials into the vehicle.

But that is why ACHD has a vegetation crew dedicated to this type of work. It has been a wet spring and things are growing in abundance, so crews focus on safety issues first. Otherwise, the property owners are contacted about trimming the vegetation.

Dear Road Wizard: On Floating Feather Road west of Linder Road, the speed limit is 45 mph, and it's difficult to exit the Homestead Subdivision. Is there a study in the works, or how do I get someone to look at it?

Anonymous

Road Wizard:

ACHD performed speed studies on Floating Feather in May of this year and the data suggests that 45 mph is still the appropriate speed limit for this section of roadway. The homes are farther apart and access points are more limited, so speeds are generally faster than denser portions of Floating Feather farther east.

Remember, speed limits are based largely on what the majority of prudent drivers are traveling. Reducing the speed limit does little, if anything, to slow down drivers if it "feels" too slow. That ends up leaving an enforcement headache for police, as well as a mix of drivers going too fast and those traveling an unreasonable posted speed limit. These speed variations can be a safety risk for drivers, including those trying to enter Floating Feather from adjacent subdivisions.

However, ACHD is willing to reassess in the future, especially if there are more homes built in the area.

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