Rexburg strives to keep roads safe this winter
REXBURG, Idaho (KIFI)- The early onset of winter has started to create issues for the roads in and around the city of Rexburg.
City Mayor Jerry Merrill says the city is doing its best to rise to the challenge and keep the roads as safe as possible. "It's been a challenge so far. We've had a lot of snow and a lot of recent thawing, which has been a challenge. So it has challenged our road crews to try to keep up with what Mother Nature's throwing at us," Merrill said.
The mayor says part of the challenge they're facing is dealing with less equipment than they normally would. "It's rough on the equipment when we have ice and things like that. We actually have two of our big graders that are in the shop and being repaired right now. So so we're down a little bit of equipment on top of, you know, just the things that normally happen. We've got two graders out trying to grade."
The city is doing well with its supply of salt, sand and gravel reserves to help melt the ice and snow and provide traction to the roads. "Every year is a little different. When we get a lot of snow early, we start using up our budgeted funds and our sand and salt and all those things. And so we'll see how the rest of the year goes as far as using up our supplies. And hopefully, we'll have plenty we should have and we can get more," Merrill said.
A recent issue being faced by the city is that freezing rain is creating more and more ice. As it thaws and refreezes, it creates thick layers of ice and is hard to break apart. "We had water starting to form ponds of water. And so then the crews were trying to open up drains and get the water drained off the road so that we don't have ice forming on the roads. Because not only is that dangerous and slick, but it also breaks up the roads worse. And so, we have to try to get rid of that as quickly as we can. So it's kind of a double whammy."
The mayor says perhaps the biggest thing people can do to help the city is to slow down while driving this winter season. Drivers should "take some of the responsibility upon themselves for being safe and drive slower. Give yourself more time to be able to get to places so that you're not in a hurry. And if you see tail lights in front of you or brake lights coming on, test the road. Put your foot on the brakes and test the road and see how slick it is. Because a lot of times you might not even think it's slick, but then when you come up on the car in front of you, the stopped, you start sliding and it's harder to stop. So you need to make sure you test the road and see how slick it is so that you give yourself plenty of time to slow down and stop so that you're not running in the things and losing control," Merrill said.
The mayor ensures that the city is doing everything it can to make sure the roads are as safe as possible this winter season.