Frustrations grow over North Bend's handling of snowy roads

For more than a week, some cities and towns in Washington have been buried in snow. Now, some spots are expected to potentially get even more snow this week. 

One of those places is the city of North Bend.

On Tuesday, FOX 13 saw drivers struggling to get around including one car purposely bumping into another car on Cedar Falls Way hoping to free each it from the snow. 

"Two feet of snow accumulation almost," Chuck Walsh said.

Walsh, who is retired, says for him the snow is a small inconvenience, but he understands why it’s a big deal to others who have to commute. 

Some can’t get out of driveways, much less navigate many of the side streets safely.

Many expect those conditions on neighborhood roads, but the bigger issue is why some main roads are still a rough go.

"The roads have been untreated-- at least it looks like it," Paul Ribary said.

Ribary owns Pearl and Stone Wine in downtown North Bend, and he says the build of snow has been keeping customers away for days.   

"I think the city of North Bend can do a better job. Why are we struggling this far out," Ribary said.

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Residents point out the noticeable difference between North Bend and its neighbor Snoqualmie.

"It’s a running joke with some friends and business associates. You get to North Bend but you don’t need to look at the sign. You know you are there [because of the snow]" Ribary said.

FOX 13 spoke with North Bend Mayor Rob McFarland about the concerns. He says typically North Bend gets more snow, but city policies do play a role.

"We do not use de-icer or anti-icer. That's what a lot of cities put down prior to snow falling," Mayor McFarland said.

That policy has been around for decades.

McFarland says the city is trying to protect chemicals from contaminating an underground water source.

"We rely on that groundwater for drinking water also what’s best for our environment. As a whole it takes care of our streams and rivers and the fish," McFarland said.

But moving forward, some say they hope the city will find other ways to handle big snow events.

"We love this city, but we have to figure out how to live in this when we have this situation," Ribary said.

McFarland is assuring the 7,800 residents that the city is plowing around the clock. He says his crews have clocked 500 hours of overtime already.

The city got 26 inches of snow in the past 9 days which the mayor says is the second-highest accumulation in the past few decades. 

The city has four snow plows and they do have the option to ask neighboring cities for help. 

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