Public works plowing priority 1, 2 streets

January 18, 2012

By Staff

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NEW — 9:15 a.m. Jan. 18, 2012

As state transportation officials urge residents to use caution or stay off roads entirely today as snow coated local arteries, the city of Newcastle will have limited staffing today.

The Public Works Department is working to plow priority 1 and priority 2 streets today.

To view the city’s snow and ice priority route map, go to http://www.ci.newcastle.wa.us/documents/SnowIce_8.5×112011.pdf.

Waste Management will not service any routes today in Newcastle. It will collect up to twice your regular amount of recycling, garbage and food and yard waste on your next regular service day.

Weather conditions left roads treacherous, and the state Department of Transportation reminded motorists to prepare for hazardous conditions on interstate highways and secondary roads, and possible impassible conditions on outlying roadways.

The agency also encouraged people to avoid driving if possible.

“I can’t emphasize enough to people the importance of gathering information available on weather forecasts and road conditions to make the best decision before venturing out,” Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond said in a statement released Tuesday, as crews braced for a major snowstorm. “Our crews will be out there plowing and treating the roads, but we need drivers to do their part and prepare for really challenging travel conditions.”

The snow and cold temperatures — combined with heavy commutes — lead to significant backups and potential lengthy delays.

Statewide, the agency’s 1,250 maintenance personnel used almost 500 pieces of equipment to treat and plow roadways. Crews clear roads on a priority basis, with interstate highways and major arterials at the top of the list, followed by more rural roadways.

“We have all our resources deployed for this series of storms, but recognize that every storm is different,” Chris Christopher, director of maintenance operations for the agency, said in a statement. “We have been treating roadways and plowing nonstop, but the effectiveness of our preparations may be limited by fast-changing weather conditions.”

Motorists should use caution and drive for conditions, especially around large trucks and buses. Even a single collision can lead to a chain-reaction crash, resulting in long commute times.

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