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More King County roads to be plowed during major winter storms

Summary

The King County Council added 70 miles to emergency snow and ice routes in rural and urban unincorporated areas this winter. This will make it easier for more people to connect to major roads during significant countywide snowstorms. The plan identifies on-call private contractors to supplement county snow-removal crews.

Story

This news release was modified after its original distribution in the following way: a quotation from King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn was added (paragraph 6).

On Wednesday, Oct. 23, the King County Council unanimously approved a Road Services Division plan to remove snow and ice from more county roads this winter. The Snow and Ice Response Plan allows the county to add 70 miles of snow plow routes to the existing 583 miles of designated snow routes in rural and urban unincorporated areas during very large storms.

The added miles will help make more roads passable, making it easier and safer for more residents to travel to and from major corridors after a major storm. Neighborhoods that will see more snowplows are spread across unincorporated King County, with a focus on areas that are more than 500 feet above sea level.

“Last winter, our crews worked around the clock plowing and de-icing hundreds of miles of roads in unincorporated King County,” said Road Services Director Rick Brater. “It took more than 30 trucks and plows, and 120 highly dedicated employees, to get the job done.

“Even with a great team, we sometimes don’t have enough resources to provide the service we want to provide. This Snow and Ice Plan will help us make better use of our limited resources and provide improved service during a very large storm,” Brater said.

The Road Services Division, part of King County’s Department of Local Services, explored ways to expand snow and ice removal in response to a proviso request included by Councilmember Reagan Dunn in the most recent county budget.

“When our region sees significant snowfall, unincorporated areas depend on the county for clear roads,” Dunn said. “Helping unincorporated King County get more snowplow service is a priority for me, and I’m deeply appreciative of the Road Services Division for identifying ways to better serve our community.”

County Council Vice Chair Claudia Balducci said, “We owe it to our residents to keep King County roads and bridges safe and passable during the winter weather. I look forward to seeing how this new and innovative approach works to improve our snow response across the county.”

Councilmember Kathy Lambert (King County District 3) said, “I am happy to see that this plan expands the network of roads that will be plowed in the future, which means more people will be able to travel safely. While it is unfortunately not possible for every road in King County to be plowed, this plan creates a sense of predictability in terms of which roads will be plowed in a winter snowstorm, and that predictability will help others prepare for the winter.”

Next steps

Road Services is now advertising the Snow and Ice on-call emergency snow removal contract to potential bidders. As advertised, the contract would give Road Services the ability to call in private crews and snow plows when needed in extreme storm conditions. This supplemental plow support is contingent on securing a contractor by the end of the year.

The plan will be funded through the existing Road Services budget.

King County Executive Dow Constantine said, “I congratulate the Road Services Division for creating a snow removal plan for unincorporated King County that was unanimously approved by the King County Council. These additional 70 miles will help get people where they need to be in the worst winter weather. As winter nears, the Road Services Division stands ready to follow last year’s example of working round-the-clock to deploy all available snow resources in our communities.”

Related links

Contact

Broch Bender, Road Services Division, 206-263-1189 or bbender@kingcounty.gov