Ed Murray, Mayor
SUBJECT: SDOT Statement on Snow Response - Improvements already underway for enhanced snow removal
3/19/2009 12:30:00 PM
Richard Sheridan (206) 684-8540
Improvements already underway for enhanced snow removal
SEATTLE - The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is moving forward with improving its ability to respond to future winter storms. Having reviewed its plowing and coordination practices, the department has committed to twelve major improvements as outlined in the citywide After Action Report of February 2009. These changes include using salt during severe winter storms, expanding its fleet to 29 plows, adding 13 contract plows, deploying inspectors to assess road conditions, enhancing coordination with King County Metro Transit and developing an extreme winter weather plan. A number of these changes, such as the new salt policy, are already in effect and have been used in recent snow storms.
As noted in the After Action Report, the December storm severely limited Metro bus service and garbage pick-up and inconvenienced thousands of residents. SDOT is committed to ensuring a faster, more comprehensive response to the next severe weather event.
SDOT resources were deployed throughout the December 2008 storm as needed to benefit the greatest number of residents. The Winter Storm Response plan called for particular attention to elevated structures more susceptible to freezing winds and ice accumulation, such as the Alaskan Way Viaduct and West Seattle Bridge. Crews worked 24-hours to ensure these major roadways never closed.
During the storm, SDOT sent crews across the city to clear wheelchair ramps and sidewalk landings. Neighborhoods included West Seattle, Queen Anne, Capitol Hill and North Seattle: higher elevation locations that received a disproportionate amount of snow and ice.
For an example of the city-wide effort, please see the daily crew report for Dec. 15, detailing snow and ice clearing.
The Seattle Department of Transportation builds, maintains and operates Seattle's $12 billion transportation infrastructure. To further Mayor Nickels' goal to get Seattle moving, the department manages short- and long-term investments in streets, bridges, pavement and trees, that better connect the city with the region.