Snowstorm causes major headaches for King County road crews
January 18, 2012
NEW — 3:15 p.m. Jan. 18, 2012
The snowstorm pummeling the Puget Sound region is causing transportation headaches across King County, officials said Wednesday afternoon as road crews attempted to keep major arteries open to traffic.
Officials said no county road is escaping the impact of the latest winter storm.
County Road Services Division crews reported hazardous driving conditions along and several road closures across the region. The county focused mostly on plowing and sanding along the major roadways throughout the county, such as Issaquah-Hobart Road Southeast.
Countywide, about 150 field staffers continue to work 12-hour shifts to support 24-hour operations. That around-the-clock schedule is due to continue until conditions improve.
The county has about 50 pieces of snow removal equipment — snowplows, sanders, anti-icing vehicles and more — available to maintain 1,300 miles of urban, suburban and rural roads in unincorporated King County.
Depending on a storm’s severity, some roads receive less attention than others. In general, snow response on roadways occur in the following order of priority:
- Major roads, such as key arterials and main thoroughfares connecting densely populated areas.
- Smaller roadways carrying traffic from local streets to arterial roadways connecting towns and cities.
- Secondary commuter routes considered important connectors to the county’s larger network of roads.
Crews started to check dozens of steep roadways susceptible to ice and snow buildup. Such roads might need to be closed as the day progresses if crews determine the routes cannot be safely traveled.
Officials said motorists should continue to monitor travel conditions and road closures. Given the potential for additional snow and continued cold temperatures, motorists should also monitor weather forecasts and adjust travel plans as necessary.
Though county crews continue to tend to snow and ice, roadways can quickly refreeze — and steep roads, less-traveled roads and bridges can be particularly hazardous, especially at night and during the early morning hours as commuters head to work.