Jackson County Gives Information Regarding Sanding, De-icing, and Plowing

Ever wonder why there is sand applied to the roads in some areas when it gets icy, yet not in other areas?

While Jackson County sends out sanders for icy conditions on roadways, they are not able to sand every mile of county road in Jackson County – over 900 miles currently.

Therefore, the focus of their attention where the worst hazards exist which tend to be the steep hills, sharp curves, bridges and other known problem areas. It is rare when crews sand a straight section of road. They also use a combination of sand and cinders in many areas to get the best traction for our money. Sadly they can’t sand ahead of time – it just gets blown and beaten off the road and won’t be where it needs to be when the ice forms.

By the way, please don’t follow a sander too close – the sand being applied can bounce on the road and end up where nobody wants it to go such as on a car or windshield. Jackson County Roads protocol is to turn off the sander when crews meet an oncoming vehicle to minimize the risk of damage.

You may have heard a lot of information about de-icers, salt and the like. Although no salt is used on county roads in Jackson County, they do use some de-icer (Magnesium Chloride) applied in a few very specific areas under certain conditions to help with freezing hazards.

Another big and noticeable activity is plowing snow.

Did you know crews typically don’t start plowing until two inches of snow is on the ground? Plowing when there is less snow on the ground does almost no good, yet grinds plow blades off faster than anything else.

Small quantities of snow (even though the road is white) can’t be plowed effectively and the hazard is minimal if caution is used when driving. Up in the higher country significant amounts of snow can fall and plows will sometimes come by multiple times a day to clear the latest snowfall. If trees are falling and especially if power lines are down crews sometimes have to wait for additional resources to show up before the plowing can continue.

If you live in the higher elevation areas you may already know they do not plow individual driveways. Time doesn’t allow anything close to individual driveway attention to be attempted. Instead, plows cast the snow to the side of the road – individual homeowners are responsible for clearing their driveway.

What about the mailbox which doesn’t withstand the snow being plowed?

Please rest assured snow plow drivers are not trying to knock over mailboxes – they have much more important things to be focused on. If the equipment actually strikes your mailbox they will repair it – this is the crews responsibility to make right (usually within 48 hours).

However, mailbox installations are the responsibility of the property owner and mailboxes and their supports should be maintained in a condition to withstand the force of side-cast snow and gravel. If your mailbox gets pushed over, without being struck, plan on fixing it up as part of your property maintenance.

Crews do try to keep access available to all mailboxes so the mail can get through, however if snow conditions do not allow clearing the snow adequately it is ultimately the property owners responsibility to ensure their mailbox can be accessed by the Postal Service.

If you have questions about policies or practices please let us know. County crews are here to help through snow, ice, wind, fog, sleet, and hail.