North Sound snow plows working round the clock during storm

North Sound snow plows working round the clock during storm (PHOTO: KOMO News)

Snow Plows and sand and salt trucks have been rolling through Snohomish County nonstop since Monday's winter blast.

"Everybody is working 12 hours on, 12 hours off, 7 days a week," said Jim Parker, one of Snohomish County Public Works' Road Maintenance Operations Managers.

And the reason is all around us, drivers continue to deal with a lot of snow and ice covered roads, and Round 2 with even more snow is due to arrive Friday and into Saturday.

"We really have to keep after it — there is no stopping with this stuff until it's gone," said Parker about the compact snow and ice.

There's a reason why it's slow going — we're not like colder climate regions of the country, where snow falls and stays snow, often creating snow ruts for drivers.

The ground temperature may have played of factor too.

"What tends to happen, even if we sand the roads, the ice will melt, grains of sand drop to bottom of the water and the water freezes over top of it creating almost like a glass like layer," explained Parker.

Since Monday, Snohomish County Public Works has sanded over 7,500 miles and plowed more than 4,000 miles.

"Our field staff have driven 28,500 miles. The circumference of earth is under 25,000 miles," said Snohomish County Public Works Director Steve Flude.

Counties and cities all rely on snow and ice removal protocols determined long before the first flake of snow appears.

Flude said primary and secondary streets get priority — namely major, arterial roads that police and fire use, school bus and transit routes, and streets that lead to major state routes and highways.

Most cities road crews also prioritize steep hills and nasty curves for snow removal.

Flude said de-icer isn't much good to most crews after the snowfall because it gets diluted by the snow and ice making it less effective.

"We, in general, don't like to leave people without the ability to come and go," said Flude.

"I want to get ahead of the snow," said Marla Tucker of Mukilteo. She was shoveling snow and chipping away at the ice that formed on her driveway. "The city of Mukilteo did a really good job coming out that first night."

They say residents can help too by keeping drains clear so when snow does melt, it drains instead of becoming black ice.

"It was beautiful but the roads were really bad the first day," said Karima Terry outside her Everett home.

She was just glad the main roads were better than the street in front of her house. "They can't plow every road, I think they did a good job."

"It's compact snow and ice and slushy in some areas you can't really tell where sidewalk ends and road begins, but you know, just feel your way," said Terry.

Flude said once Snohomish County's priority routes are taken care, if time and resources they try to check out requests on neighborhood side streets.

Since Monday Snohomish County Public Works said it has gone through 2,400 tons of the mixture.

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