Still hoping to get an icy side street cleared? Don't count on it

WOODINVILLE, Wash. — Though road crews continue to lay down de-icer and plow roads following snow and cold temperatures, state and local transportation departments have been very clear that there are not nearly enough plows to clear and treat all of the roads across the region.

For instance, in Woodinville, a lot of the roads and hills are treacherous. Unless you're on a main artery on a flat surface, you're dealing with very slippery hardpack snow and glare ice everywhere.

On Woodinville Duvall Road, intersections are very slick, and drivers are concerned another dump of snow will make roads impassable.

There are endless miles of secondary roads in King County that crews will not treat with de-icer or plows because they say their priority has to be keeping primary routes clear to prepare for even more snow to come.

But some drivers hope road crews change their tactics.

“Taking the side roads first I guess within the next couple of days and making sure those are in better condition, because when you snow on top of ice and more snow on top of ice and more ice …,” said driver Nicole Beltz from Shoreline.

Drivers in Snohomish County say they have the same challenges, which means they struggle to even get to the treated roads.

“So they never really clean the side roads. Like, I couldn’t even get out of my little street, and Route 9 is ice packed!  And they never really sanded or salted or anything,” said Snohomish County driver Carmen Glynn.

But transportation officials say there  just isn’t enough equipment to go around.

“In order for us to do the side streets, we would have to have 200 to 300 plows and it doesn’t snow enough to warrant that kind of capital investment, which would be around $26 million or more,” said Rodney Maxie with Seattle Department of Transportation.

There are funding issues as well.  King County used to plow and treat 30 percent of county-managed roads, but now there are only resources to plow half of those, and King county has 1,500 miles of roads.