Due to the recent storms passing through the area, Nevada County’s Road Services crews have been hard at work helping to not only mitigate storm damage but to repair and restore hazardous zones.
Road Services Manager John Veasey said his crews have been working 24 hours a day in order to ensure the safety of drivers as well as properties along roadways.
“561 miles of road, that’s our total area of responsibility,” Veasey said. “That’s usually one of our talking points. People don’t realize how many miles we are responsible for. We have 561 miles of road to maintain.”
This mileage includes roads found throughout the entire county, including Donner Pass Road and Hobart Mill. Veasey said that for every inch of rain we’ve received in the western part of the county, higher elevations are experiencing snow by the foot.
Veasey said that the crew who answers calls for hazardous roadway situations is made up of 29 people. They switch off, working 12-hour shifts at a time. The recent weather has ensured they have very little time to themselves.
“We started snow removal on Christmas and they worked 16 days in a row, night and day, just to keep up,” he said. “The roads are open as safe as we can make them. We are still doing clean up. We’ve had minor rockslides, we are dealing with the moisture and rain. There have been cold nights, so it’s wet and then it’s cold and the people are going to work and there’s black ice. We send out sand trucks as best we can. Folks should drive for conditions.”
Veasey added that his department’s typical stance is that it is cognizant of weather reports and other advisories issued by the Office of Emergency Services. The department then plans out its approach as best as it can, based on the forecast.
“We do have a stockpile of sand here and we make all the preparations that we can, and that includes splitting the crew into day and night shifts. We do that on every storm, snow and rain. We prep our folks and know we’ll get calls for floods, mudslides, (and) rockslides,” Veasey said.
The Road Services department stated that even with clean and clear culverts, some weather systems produce more water flow than their drainage systems can tolerate. Overflowing creeks and streams can contribute to these overflows
Drivers are strongly discouraged from trying to pass another vehicle on roads that are flooded. The Roads Maintenance Division will dispatch and place obvious road closure signs where and when needed, as quickly as possible.
The department added that crews are on call 24/7, and teams are rapidly deployed as the situation warrants.
“Just know that we are out there,” Veasey said. “We have very hard-working folks who are out there and they do a good job and take care of business. You may not see them right away, but they’re out there. We do partner with CHP, the sheriff, for calls and call-outs; also with AT&T and PG&E. If a tree falls on a power line, we don’t typically handle those. We will block off the road for them. Same with phone lines.”
The department asks residents to report any issue on a county-maintained road by visiting NevadaCounty.gov/Service/Request.
Sandbag materials can be obtained by visiting one of four locations: the corner of Highway 49 and East Broad Street, the Penn Valley Fire Protection District, North San Juan Community Hall, and Higgins Fire Department. For addresses and more information, visit nevadacounty.gov. Sand and sandbags are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Residents are advised to bring their own bags if possible, take only what is needed, and to bring their own shovel.