- Public Works
- Operations & Maintenance
- Snow and Ice Removal Plan
Snow and Ice Removal Plan
The Operations and Maintenance Division is responsible for providing snow and ice control for City roads.
During snow and ice events, maintenance activities are prioritized by roads designated as priority 1 (primary) or priority 2 (secondary). Roads not designated as either priority 1 or 2 are local access or residential streets and are the third priority for snow and ice control.
When a typical snow or ice event occurs, Priority 1 routes are handled within the first 36 hours. Priority 2 routes are handled within the 36-72 -hour time frame. If another event occurs during the first 72 hours, crews return to the Priority 1 routes schedule.
City‐maintained roads are designated primary and secondary based on traffic counts, vehicle types, designated speed limits, and the functional class of the road. Public gravel roads are not plowed or sanded. Private roads are not maintained by City road crews. Residents who live on a private road are advised to work with their neighbors to develop a snow and ice control plan.
The Snowplow Route Map (click on map above to enlarge) shows the priority plow routes. Red lines indicate priority 1 (primary roads). Primary roads provide the highest degree of mobility, serve major centers of activity, and are high traffic volume links between suburban centers and outlying communities. Crews plow and sand primary roads first and continue until they are clear. When primary roads are clear crews move to secondary roads.
Blue lines indicate priority 2 (secondary roads). Secondary roads link local communities with primary roads. Secondary roads may enter residential neighborhoods, provide direct property access, and move traffic from primary roads to local access roads. It is important to remember during major snow events that crews spend most of the initial response clearing snow and ice on primary roads before moving to secondary roads.
Local access roads serve residential single-family homes, multiple dwelling developments, commercial business offices, and industrial development. They also provide access to developments from secondary roads and provide circulation through neighborhoods. Crews work on local access roads after primary and secondary roads are cleared.
Black lines indicate State Route 305 which is under the jurisdiction of the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). WSDOT establishes similar priorities for their snow and ice control operations. More information about their procedures can be found at the following link: https://www.wsdot.com/winter/files/SnowIcePlan
During a snow event, special requests often come to Public Works through phone calls from Police, Fire, CenCom (911), and the public. Other requests are sent through SeeClickFix, an application that residents may use to report non-emergency issues. Emergency requests are responded to as quickly as possible. Other requests are handled according to the priorities outlined above. Due to limited staffing during storm events, residents are advised not to call Public Works to make a request unless there is a true emergency as this takes time away from priority operations.
Chemical deicers lower the freezing point of water, allowing lower temperature before ice forms on roads. Chemical application does not guarantee ice‐free roadways but can definitely keep roads safer. The initial application is put on hills, curves, bridges and major arterials and lifeline routes (primary roads).
The City uses a chloride (salt) brine diluted with water to 23.3% sodium chloride. Sodium chloride is the safest and most cost‐effective anti‐icing product available.
Keeping sidewalks free from snow, ice, and other obstructions is the responsibility of the person or entity whose property abuts the sidewalk per BIMC 12.08. Only sidewalks on or abutting City property are maintained by City crews during snow and ice control operations. View a list of the walkways maintained by the City.