Snow near the Chilkat Center in Haines. (Emily Files)

Snow near the Chilkat Center in Haines. (Emily Files)

Haines has seen its fair share of winter weather in recent weeks. But recently, the borough has had to go without one piece of equipment that is key to maintaining the roads this season.

The borough’s sander broke last week.

“The motor lost oil pressure, and so they shut it down,” says public facilities director Brad Ryan.

“And we didn’t drive it after that,” says Ryan. “It was up on Cathedral View and we towed it back and so we’re just hoping that they shut it down quick enough not to ruin the motor but we don’t know that at this point.”

He says they’re still assessing the situation, and it’s unclear right now when it will be back on the road. But not treating the roads hasn’t been an option. In recent weeks Haines has seen snow and rain, resulting in some icy driving conditions. Ryan says they’re using alternate methods for now.

“We’ve hired a couple local contractors to sand for us in the meantime,” says Ryan. “And we’re trying to work out an arrangement with DOT to use their sand truck as well. And then we also have CIA’s sander now in the back of our truck and we’re just waiting for some controls so that we can do a small sanding effort with like a pickup-style sander as well.”

The borough’s sander is in a dump truck. They do have another, newer dump truck, but they’re unable to attach the sander to that one.

Ryan says, while the borough is feeling the loss, the necessary work is still getting done well.

“We certainly feel the loss in the sense that it costs us more money,” says Ryan. “And we have to do some arrangements with the private contractors. But they’ve been doing great. They show up, they’re happy to be there and they’ve been making quick work of it.”

At this point, the borough has gone without its sander for about a week. They continue to work toward getting it back on the road.