Winter in Enosburg Falls (Photo Credit: J.D. Thomason)

Winter in Enosburg Falls (Photo Credit: J.D. Thomason)

Throughout Vermont, road conditions and highway safety are a top priority. In Franklin County in particular, maintaining roads in our winter weather conditions takes an incredible amount of effort – a public service that is not only vital to safety but also toward promoting a healthy local economy.

According to the Highgate Highway Department’s Winter Road Maintenance Policy, snow plowing begins if the snow has accumulated 2 to 3 inches on the road. Each plow route is approximately 15 miles long and takes 3 to 4 hours to complete. This means that by the end of the route, up to 6 inches of snow may have accumulated at the start of the route which is why during aggressive snow storms there will most likely be snow on the road. As recorded by the VTRANS Fact Book, 2015, winter maintenance costs for District 8 added up to $4, 564, 465. These costs include 18,169 tons of salt; 435 cubic yards of winter sand; 65,331 gallons of de-icer; and 752, 035 gallons of brine.

But as the expense and careful attention paid to winter road conditions has proven to be well worth the investment with low amounts of snow and ice related accidents. According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Program of 2015, most traffic incidents reported since 2012 were related to improper restraint, excessive speed, and impairment by alcohol and various other drugs, not poor road conditions.

By Chelsea Hill