County ready for winter weather

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By Pat McTaggart

Freelance Journalist

“We are doing pretty good this year,” said County Engineer Rafe Koopman, talking about the county’s preparations for winter weather.  “We got prepared for winter in September and October, despite the rain that we received.”

Koopman said that the bins are full of the salt/sand mixture the county uses on its roads.  He also said that the equipment is ready to roll when winter weather hits.

“It’s business as usual,” he said.  “We try to get out on the highways as early as 4 a.m. when a storm hits. Roads should be usable in a day after the snow hits. We have 18 trucks, 13 motor graders and two snow blowers.”

“However, every storm is different,” he continued. “A lot depends on the amount of snow we get and how much wind comes with the snow. The big thing that people tend to forget is that ice is a lot harder to clean up. It requires a lot more scraping, and that might have to be done more than once.  That might take as long as two or three days to make the roads safe.

This year’s snow removal budget is $485,000. Koopman said the budget for snow removal goes up a little each year. He also said he typically budgets for overtime.  Secondary roads employees can either accrue compensation time during the year or take overtime pay.

“We are ready to deal with whatever Mother Nature hands us,” Koopman said.  “I also want to say that I really appreciate the public’s patience when we have to deal with these events.”

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