Road crews mount up in advance of winter weather

SEATTLE -- Road crews prepared for the predicted onslaught of winter weather surging  toward Western Washington Monday,  by spreading de-icer and loading trucks with salt and sand.

Road crews in Seattle, King County and all across the state are hitting the pavement trying to keep people safe, Washington State Department of Transportation Maintenance Supervisor Jim McBride said.

“We always try to be prepared," McBride said. "We have trucks out there. It’s just part of what we do.”

WSDOT has done what it can before the storm hits by pretreating roads with a liquid de-icer. On Monday night, crews will be ready at a moment’s notice if the flakes decide to fall, McBride said.

“On an event like this we ramp up," Mcbride said. "We try to get more trucks on the road. We adjust our shifts so we have trucks in advance of this morning commute and we have a large group of trucks in overnight throughout the night as well.”

With budget cuts, King County road crews are dealing with a different storm that’s brewing, King County Road Director Brenda Bauer said.

“We’re ready to go with the resources we have," Brauer lamented. "We just simply don’t have the staffing we used to have to be able to cover roughly 30 percent of our road network. And, again we’re doing everything we can to try and find temporary people who have the necessary skills to do that work.”

Seattle has its own challenges. The director of street maintenance with SDOT, Steve Pratt said with the second hilliest city in the country expecting snow, they have their work cut out for them. Trucks will hit the roads but equipment you don’t see is also at work. Tiny temperature sensors in the pavement on the West Seattle Bridge, and other roads, monitor air and pavement temperatures, Letting crews know where to treat and when.

In Snohomish County, where crews were expecting up to two inches of snow, officials said they would be working around-the-clock.

"Our crews will be out overnight with our plows and sanding trucks to keep roads clear," Marla Carter of Snohomish County Public Works said.

Road crews have this advice for motorists in advance of a snow event:

    For more information on traffic conditions and road closures, visit the WSDOT's website.