Snowplows gear up as storm barrels toward Puget Sound

SEATTLE -- Another winter storm is headed for western Washington, and the snowplows should be ready.

The Washington State Department of Transportation and Seattle transportation told Q13 News that employees are using the lull between storms to gear up for the next round.

Snowplow crews at WSDOT have moved from 12-hour to 10-hour shifts as they continue to clear ice and snow. Drivers worked long and hard over the past week, a WSDOT spokesperson said, and they need any rest they can get ahead of Friday evening's forecasted storm.

The storm is expected to bring up to six inches of snow to most of the Puget Sound.

It's also a time to restock supplies. WSDOT's Northwest region used 1,500 tons of salt so far. That's about 20 to 25 percent of their total supplies. Now it's time to restock, a spokesperson said.

Here are some things crews are doing to prepare for Friday night:

  • WSDOT will start pre-treating roads 24 hours in advance. They'll use liquid anti-icer and salt.

    From SDOT

  • SDOT plans to pre-treat up to 72 hours in advance.
  • SDOT will prioritize "gold" and "emerald" roadways for mistreatment. They'll also prioritize those roads for continued clearing.
  • WSDOT uses liquid de-icer primarily to “pre-wet” salt in an effort to keep it on the roadway surface and help it melt ice and snow.
  • WSDOT has 160 snow trucks working in Puget Sound.
    • 60 WSDOT plows in the Olympic Region (Clallam, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Kitsap, Mason, Pierce and Thurston counties).
    • About 100 plows in the Northwest Region (King, Snohomish, Skagit, Whatcom and Island counties)
  • In the Puget Sound area, WSDOT has to cover almost 8,000 lane miles of roadway
    • The Northwest Region has 5,000 lane miles of roadway to cover
    • The Olympic region has 2,900 lane miles of roadway to cover
  • Seattle has about 35 trucks with plow capability working on the streets.
  • Seattle doesn’t have any plow-exclusive trucks. The same trucks they use for plows are the ones they use for paving the roads.
  • Seattle will start pretreating sidewalks within 24 hours of the start of the storm.

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