KING COUNTY, Wash. - Two days of heavy snowfall in western Washington had crews with King County Road Services working 12-hour shifts, day and night, to clear the roads.
However, snow removal in some of the county’s unincorporated neighborhoods were placed on hold.
"Because the snow keeps coming, we need to go back over those Category One roads again. So, we’re making multiple passes and that’s been our biggest challenge is because we have to focus on those areas—which means it could be a few days before we can get to those rural areas and outlining areas," said Broch Bender, public information officer for King County Road Services.
King County Road Services has 583 miles of snow route divided into five categories. On a map detailing the routes, the red line demonstrates the Category One roads. Crews are plowing those roads and moving down the list as quickly as possible since more snow is in the forecast.
"We need to focus on those main arterials because that’s how people get to the highways, those are the roads to the hospitals, what our emergency services depend on," said Bender.
The county is using 14 plows, and has already used 350 tons of salt-sand mix. However, those resources are not enough in responding to the heavy snowfalls. Bender said the county asked for additional help.
"We have a few more folks from King County Parks and King County Solid Waste who are jumping in to help. So, we’ve got a couple more snow plows out," said Bender. "We are working with some private contracted removal companies that are coming online tomorrow."
As residents in an unincorporated area near Renton waited for the roads to be plowed, some people chose to walk to get around.
"We live off a road that hasn’t been plowed or salted or anything. So, we’re just trying to be safe and wanted to get a little exercise. It’s nice to be out here and enjoy it," said one neighbor.
As more roads clear, more of the people out walking will start driving again. They are reminding others to be cautious when sharing the road in the slick conditions.
"Look both ways when you pull out. Make sure you are going slower than you think you should, use your turn signals," said Mikela Vieser while out on a walk with her baby.
Bender said what would really help snow removal crews is if everyone stayed home and out of their way.
"The truth is that’s safer for you and it’s better for our crews because when there are fewer cars on the road, we can plow much faster. And the sooner we plow those roads, the sooner we’ll be able to get down and do the other roads," said Bender.
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