Our view: Routt County leaders listened
When Mother Nature finally decides to dump a bounty of snow on Northwest Colorado, Routt County will be ready to keep the roads clear, especially in North Routt, where county commissioners look poised to add another snowplow driver to serve the area this winter.
We were thrilled to learn last week that the 2018 budget currently being considered by the Routt County Board of Commissioners includes funding for an additional equipment operator, who would provide extra snowplowing coverage in the northern part of the county.
Last winter, after a particularly large snow event in late December, citizens living in North Routt passionately addressed commissioners about the need for more plowing in a part of the county that experiences a different kind of winter with higher elevations and considerably more snow than its southern neighbors.
Longtime North Routt resident Nancy Mucklow was one of those who addressed the commission last year, and upon learning that additional snowplowing was being considered by the county this winter, she described the proposal as a “godsend for all of us.”
“We have a ton of traffic up here and tons of families up here along with recreation,” Mucklow said. “That main artery out of North Routt has to be plowed, and it has to be safe.”
Mucklow is referring to Routt County Road 129, which is the road buses travel to get students to and from North Routt Charter Community School in Clark and the road that allows residents living in Willow Pass, Hahn’s Peak Village and other subdivisions in the area to get back and forth to jobs, schools, banks and grocery stores in Steamboat Springs.
This past winter, the county plowed C.R. 129 once a day in the early morning hours, which left the road slushy during the day with icy ruts forming in the afternoons and evenings as temperatures dropped. Commuters relying on 129 found these conditions to be treacherous at times and approached the commission last January to ask for more frequent plowing of the road.
On Jan. 17, 2017, we wrote an editorial encouraging county leaders to revisit their plowing protocol and find a way to make more than one pass on the county’s busiest roads, especially during heavy snow storms, and it appears county officials listened to their constituents when putting together this year’s budget plan.
Finding a way to include more funding for snowplow operations in the budget is an example of county government coming back around, revisiting an issue and finding a way to get something done to improve public safety.
It also shows that the county understands there are more and more people moving into rural areas of Routt County because of lower housing costs, and those citizens depend on well-maintained and well-plowed roads to connect them to the county’s main business hubs.
As budget talks continue and the county gets ready to approve its final spending plan in a couple of weeks, we encourage commissioners to follow through and include these extra resources for snowplowing in the 2018 budget. It is a great step toward protecting the health and welfare of rural Routt County residents.
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