The Ada County Highway District was one of several categories of businesses deemed essential by Governor Little during his stay-home order. As such, ACHD Leadership determined what operations would fall under the essential categories, and what operations could be briefly curtailed.
Many staff members were able to continue their work from the safety of their homes, while others waited for the word it was safe to resume normal operations. Still others stayed the course and continued day-to-day operations at the Highway District. We would like to take a moment to give thanks and kudos to those who worked out in the public amid the COVID-19 uncertainly in order to further the ACHD mission.
ACHD had 24 Inspectors and two Surveyors who continued to work out in the field and in the public throughout the entire duration of the stay-home order. While both construction and transportation had been deemed essential by the Governor, allowing these folks to continue their important work allowed some of our major road construction projects to stay on-schedule.
- Cole Road and Victory Road intersection
- Ten Mile Road, Ustick Road to McMillan Road
- Ten Mile Road, McMillan Road to Chinden Boulevard
- Meridian Road, Cherry Lane to Ustick Road
These unsung heroes had to face new challenges in the very different landscape COVID-19 had created. Conversations over a set of project plans that typically occurred face-to-face in relatively close contact were now being had via conference call. And not everyone out in the field were respectful of the six feet of social distancing, so reminders to them were frequent.
The crews were asked to spend as little time in the office as possible (to minimize contact), so their work space largely became their trucks. ACHD supplied them with masks, hand sanitizer, spray sanitizer and paper towels (for the trucks), and even some toilet paper in case they needed a restroom that was without. Team meetings were held in the parking lot to maintain social distancing in the open air. The survey crew, who usually work in tandem, were each given a vehicle to travel to job sites in order to minimize the close quarters in a single truck cab.
One of the biggest challenges they faced was the mental toll of knowing that they are still working when others have been ordered to stay home.
“Although this has been trying for all of us, I cannot say enough about my team,” said Jim Pickard, Inspection Coordinator for ACHD. “They stepped up time and time again. It was stressful handling home and personal concerns as well as working in the field during these uncertain times, but they never wavered in their devotion and positive attitude. Many of the team said that they were happy to keep at least part of the economy moving forward, and I couldn’t agree more.”
Though we still battle the Coronavirus as a community, and life is anything but normal, the Ada County Highway District is proud to serve the taxpayers of Ada County—even when the going gets tough.