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Sun, Nov. 17

Stranded vehicles, vacations impacted snow removal in county
14 stranded vehicles led to closure of Pioneer Parkway, Williamson Valley Road

Road conditions at the Dells in Prescott. (Blake DeWitt/Courier)

Road conditions at the Dells in Prescott. (Blake DeWitt/Courier)

Yavapai County put its 15 snowplows and 20 motor graders to work during the recent snowstorm — 13 plows in the Prescott area and two in the Verde, said Dan Cherry, Yavapai County Public Works director.

About half of the graders equipped for snow removal operated throughout the storm during daytime hours Monday and Tuesday; policy prohibits operation in the dark, Cherry said Wednesday, Jan. 2.

A crew of seven worked through the day Monday until 6 p.m. when a second crew with four plows came in and worked through the night. The Verde area crew ran its two plows and seven graders during the day, and a second shift started about 7 p.m. in the Verde Valley and the southern portion of Yavapai County.

“Due to the amount of snow that came so quickly, there were many accidents on Iron Springs Road and on Pioneer Parkway,” Cherry said.

The Parkway was closed for four hours with 14 vehicles stranded on the road and blocking access to Williamson Valley Road. As soon as the snarl was cleared, plows started up Williamson Valley Road around 2:30 p.m. and continued to clear through the night.

Iron Springs Road also was closed because of stranded motorists, blocking the snowplows as well, he said.

The intensity of the snowfall and dropping temperatures certainly led to unusual and treacherous roadway conditions, and stranded — and abandoned — vehicles inhibited plows from quickly getting to the regional roads where most needed, Cherry said.

On Tuesday, county crews finished widening out the five priority roads in the Prescott area: Iron Springs, Williamson Valley, Pioneer Parkway, Senator Highway and Walker, as well as clearing the main loops in and out of each county subdivision. Workers then moved on to inner subdivision roads as staff allowed, he said.

Crews continued to work Wednesday in subdivisions clearing all county-maintained roads. 

“We anticipate completion of all snow-clearing operations on county-maintained roads by end of business on Thursday, Jan. 3,” Cherry added.

“Holiday traffic and the fact that county crew numbers were diminished due to the proximity to the Christmas and New Year holidays certainly played a part in all local and state jurisdictions from being fully staffed and able to address the snow removal efforts with a full workforce,” Cherry said in a Jan. 2 email.

“The public’s patience with the county during the snow removal efforts has been appreciated.”

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