Meade County highway crews again at full strength

The Meade County Highway Department’s snowplows are back at full strength after one was damaged in an accident March 4. Pioneer photo by Deb Holland

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STURGIS — The Meade County Highway Department will be at full strength again after losing a plow to an accident on March 4.

County Highway Superintendent Lincoln Shuck said his department was able to bring a secondary plow into service after the primary fleet vehicle flipped on its side on Highway 34 about 7 a.m. on March 4 just east of Enning.

Winds were gusting at more than 40 mph that day creating white-out conditions. Shuck said the snowplow operator, who he would not name, had his blade down and struck a large drift. Ice on the road under the drift caused the plow to slide and end up on the driver’s side in the ditch.

Shuck said the operator was not hurt. Following the accident, the county suspended snow removal operations in the Opal, Red Owl, Marcus, Union Center, Enning, Elm Springs, and Hereford areas due to wind conditions and subzero temperatures.

Shuck was keeping a positive attitude about this week’s storm.

“You prepare for the worst and hope for the best,” he said.

Crews were out ahead of the storm Monday and Tuesday, widening and smoothing out snow on stretches of rural roads, Shuck said.

On Feb. 9, the county adopted a snow removal policy detailing Meade County’s level of service concerning snow and ice removal as well as the placement of sand and salt on county roads.

The policy says the county will initiate snow removal operations to maintain traffic as long as weather conditions are such that plowing can be done safely and effectively for at least five hours.

It also details how much snow must fall before primary and secondary roads will be plowed. 

The general practice will be: When snowfall is at least 2 inches, but less than 4 inches, all hard-surfaced roads will be plowed during normal working days.

• When snowfall is 4 inches or more, all gravel roads as well as hard surfaced roads will be plowed during normal working days.

• A snowfall of 4 inches or more may result in plowing activities being conducted before and after normal working days, as well as weekends and holidays.

Shuck cautioned rural residents that clearing snow from private drives or ranch entrances and pushing that snow onto county roads is prohibited. He said doing so creates a safety hazard and adds to the time and cost of snow removal maintenance.

The county’s snow route maps are visible at: static1.squarespace.com/static/55f1f6a6e4b0fdc2e7a036d1/t/5c783125ee6eb056495e7d71/1551380777080/snow+removal+routes+2019.pdf.

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