SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane County has told KREM 2 that it will not be adding boots to its plows, following the city of Spokane's revised snow removal plan.
About a year ago, Spokane County residents Bev Bernair and Allen Jones spoke with KREM 2 about berms in front of their houses. They each said they had been blocked into their driveways after county plows had come through their neighborhood.
"I was in tears when I called the county," Bernair said at the time.
"What happens if you have a health emergency and have to get to the hospital, which is something I recently had to do?" Jones asked last winter. "You have that big berm out there, you're not going anywhere."
While reporting that story, Spokane County told KREM 2 it was watching tests being run by the city of Spokane to improve its snow plan, and would consider the outcomes--including the addition of equipment that could prevent berms in front of driveways.
In a call Wednesday, however, the county said it will not follow suit with the city and implement similar equipment. The county said its winter maintenance budget of $3 million is not enough to employ boots or gates, and provide for needed repairs, particularly since it is responsible for around 2,500 miles of roads spread out over a lot of terrain.
Last winter, Spokane Co. told me it was watching tests by the city on gates and boots to reduce berms. Today I was told it would be too expensive to implement them at the county level, but a new de-icer will be used this year that should fare better in below 0 temps pic.twitter.com/7WUcmWXizy— Rob Harris (@KREMRob) December 28, 2017
The county did say, however, that it has been communicating with other counties across the country with similar geography and has found a new deicer to use this year that should be more effective in colder temperatures (particularly below 0 degrees).
The county also said that elderly or disabled residents who need assistance removing snow or berms from their driveways can look to local organizations such as Catholic Charities.