Road and Bridge discusses holiday road plowing challenges

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by Tara Walker

Road and Bridge Superintendent, Chris Baer, gave an update to the board of County Commissioners on January 2, 2018. He addressed the holiday plowing concerns as well as briefly discussed their assistance during the December 25, Big Horn Park house fire north of Kremmling.

Baer apologized for the state of the roads on Christmas day, “I will start by apologizing to you and the public. We made some decisions that we probably should have done differently. We should have had more people on the ground Christmas afternoon. Different areas got different amounts of snow and it was difficult to judge where we should have been.”

Baer explained that many things made the plowing decisions difficult on Christmas day. The road and bridge department was shorthanded due to sick employees and a resignation was given that Christmas morning. Baer took responsibility, apologized and stated, “We will make some changes and improve and it will get better.”

Commissioner Cimino noted that he may have made the same decision as Baer made based on the snow reports Christmas morning, but the snow kept coming until there were 2 inches in some areas in the county with 7-8 inches in other areas. He thanked citizens for calling in when more plowing was needed in certain neighborhoods.

Cimino stated, “The public is a like a 100 or even 1000 snow gauges out there. We can’t see all the roads and please don’t hesitate to call commissioners or contact the road and bridge department. If the conditions change, notify us. Crews responded to neighborhoods that had called and things looked really good around 2 p.m.”

Commissioner Manguso stated she had also received a call, but not from her district where it did not seem to be as big as a problem as the east end of county.

Baer thanked his employees who worked 12-14 hours on Christmas day, “Christmas is close to my heart. This is what they signed up for, but we don’t take it for granted. They give up a lot of family time and it is important to me and important to them. We’ll do a better job next time.”

Superintendent Baer then transitioned to the Big Horn Park fire that occurred Christmas evening. The county roads were well maintained so that emergency vehicles were able to reach the Big Horn Park community. However, Big Horn Park is a gated private community and the county does not normally maintain those roads. Since it was an emergency situation, the county assisted with plowing so the emergency vehicles could reach the scene. No injuries or fatalities were reported during the Big Horn Park fire.

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