Road crews preparing for snow; see which streets will be plowed

VIDEO: Road crews preparing for snow

Road crews around Western Washington are getting ready for possible snow expected Thursday.

Seattle Department of Transportation crews are pretreating key streets and bridges with anti-icing chemicals Wednesday morning.

Then they continuously plow their routes and treat the road with salt where needed if snow continues to fall.

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There are about 1,200 lane-miles of major streets in Seattle. SDOT said it can take crews up to 12 hours to clear all the ground when there’s a break in a storm.

How do you know which streets will be plowed? SDOT uses GPS to track the locations of its trucks and plows. You can see how recently a street has been cleared, as well as SDOT’s planned routes, at this link.

SDOT focuses on major streets that are key in getting to hospitals; those used most frequently by police, fire trucks and buses; and streets leading to Seattle’s major employers. Crews do not plow non-arterial streets.

Washington State Department of Transportation crews are also on alert.

Snowplows are on standby from Snohomish to Thurston counties. Interstates and major highways are road crews’ priority.

WSDOT says it has about 100 trucks ready to head out if needed. Before snow falls, crews pretreat high traffic areas with anti-icing chemicals that prevent frost and ice on pavement.

Once snow falls and begins to accumulate, crews switch to salt and liquid deicer that helps snow and ice to melt, which makes it easier to remove with snowplows.

But there’s a lot of ground to cover. Though there are about 500 plows and dump trucks across the state, WSDOT needs to cover more than 20,000 lane miles, and WSDOT trucks travel at 25 to 35 mph to do a good job at treating snow and ice.

To see WSDOT’s priority plow route maps, follow this link.