Pierce County road crews prepare for winter weather

Road operations crews from Pierce County Public Works and Utilities will spend Monday and Tuesday traveling their snow plow routes,...

Road operations crews from Pierce County Public Works and Utilities will spend Monday and Tuesday traveling their snow plow routes, setting up and recalibrating equipment, and reviewing the county’s Snow and Ice Response Plan in anticipation of winter weather.

“While mild weather is expected this winter, we will be ready to respond to snow and ice on county roads,” said Pierce County Public Works and Utilities road operations manager Bruce Wagner. “Residents can also prepare by making sure their car is in good working condition and putting together an emergency kit for their car that includes blankets, a flashlight, warm clothes, and non-perishable foods.”

Pierce County maintains 3,150 lane miles of roadway in unincorporated Pierce County. Approximately 1,517 lane miles are identified as key arterial and lifeline routes that connect residential areas to service centers and state highways. The level of service these roads receive during winter weather is determined by several factors, including weather conditions, the classification of the roadway, and available resources.

“Our priorities during a snow and ice event are major arterials, lifeline emergency routes, access roads to highways and freeways, and Pierce Transit and school bus snow routes,” added Wagner. “If you can get out of your neighborhood and reach a key arterial during snow and ice events, you will likely find a drivable road.”

When a severe winter storm is forecast, Pierce County’s plan provides that crews apply anti-icing products to key arterials and lifelines routes assuming all resources are available. If heavy snowfall affects roads countywide, plow trucks with de-icing materials are deployed 24 hours a day when all resources are available until conditions improve.

This week, Pierce County road operations crews will hook up snow plows, install chains, and test the application rates of anti-icing products. Crews will also review the Snow and Ice Response Plan, protocols for staying safe while working around power lines, and the department’s weather forecasting tools. Crews will also drive their assigned snow and ice routes to become familiar with the road surface before it gets covered with snow.

Residents can find suggestions for creating emergency kits for vehicles and winter driving tips online at piercecountywa.org/winterwise.

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