Jeff Humphrey

Helping Snow Plows Go Farther, Faster

Jeff Humphrey, Media Content Coordinator, 509.625.6308

Monday, November 5, 2018 at 3:46 p.m.

The Spokane Street Department is gearing up for its annual war on winter weather.

Crews have started hanging plow blades on the same heavy equipment, that in warmer months, help maintain and repair our streets.

"Our teams have been tuning up the equipment, ordering supplies of deicer and sand and practicing right here in our snowplow obstacle course right behind us," said Spokane mayor David Condon at a recent news conference.

Having a safe place to practice plow driving is important because once the snow starts flying, Spokane plans to borrow drivers from other City departments to help plowing go farther, faster.

"When it snows, even if it's an inch or two, we will be plowing all streets including the residential streets. The maintenance plow work will be completed primarily on the day shift, Monday through Friday when crews from our Water and Wastewater Utilities are more available," Condon explained.

Also this winter, the City has more than doubled the number of plows outfitted with gates that will help reduce berms in residential areas, but plow operators still need help from the driving public.

"It's going to take a lot more than just great plowing by our staff to get the job done. It's going to take collaboration by everyone out there who is driving a car or using our streets," urged Councilman Breean Beggs.

For example, if you can't find off-street parking, try getting your car as close to the curb as possible.

"This jeep here has another foot on his right side, where he can move over a little bit, and this causes a really tight situation see," Rod Mann told a reporter while plowing the South Hill last winter.

Another way to give drivers more room to operate would be to park your car on the odd number side of the street. But Beggs concedes that strategy won’t work everywhere.

"We also know in some neighborhoods, they are so crowded, that we need parking on both sides of the street most of the time. But again, when there is a snow storm and our employees are out plowing to help you, please move your car to the odd side of the street when possible," Beggs respectfully asked.

Other snow plow preparations have the Street Department stockpiling sand and deicer.

The City uses so much magnesium chloride it arrives in Spokane via rail car and then, trucks transfer the liquid deicer to holding tanks around the City.

During an average winter, crews can use more than a half million gallons to combat slick conditions which means rail car shipments show up several times a year.

We can't control the weather but the City of Spokane is getting ready to make your winter travels less of a struggle and hopefully, safer.

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