Winter Weather Plans
Posted on 12/26/2021
Winter Weather Preparations

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This article originally appeared in the Dec. 3, 2021 edition of This Week in Renton.

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We’ve seen more severe weather moving in over the past month. While it’s primarily been wind and rain, snow is now forecast for next week.

The city divisions responsible for our preparations and winter weather response have already put their plans and people in place. This is what you can expect in response from the city.

 

Our response

Preparation for the winter weather season began back in October with Public Works street maintenance crews outfitting their fleet of 11 dump trucks with snowplows and sanders. In addition, they outfitted three more trucks with deicer tanks. They tested the equipment and made necessary repairs. Then plow drivers took their rigs to the street to review their routes.

Once there’s freezing weather in the forecast, these crews hit the roads early in the morning to apply deicer. That’s the thin lines of liquid you may have seen on the crown of the road, and vehicle tires spread the solution across the lanes. Deicer helps prevent snow and ice from sticking, making it easier to plow.

When snow falls, plow trucks are dispatched to specific plowing routes across the city. The trucks plow around the clock with the drivers working 12-hour shifts. These four overlapping shifts ensure plows are always on the road. Depending on road conditions, sand or a 50/50 mix of sand/salt is also applied. The trucks are linked to their base by GPS tracking, allowing supervisors to monitor their progress. The drivers are also in radio contact with their base and with each other to continually relay weather and road conditions.

NE 4th, Sunset, Benson, Talbot, and Carr; school and Metro bus routes; and the main access roads to Renton Hill and West Hill are high volume arterials and a priority for pre-treating, plowing, and sanding. During peak commute hours, these streets receive the most attention because sand dissipates quickly on well-traveled roads.

Secondary arterials, including Union Avenue SE and Duvall Avenue NE, are plowed and sanded next. High priority areas are sanded approximately four times in 24-hours during severe weather conditions. Once these primary and secondary routes are clear, the plows move to residential areas.

How you can help

You can help our crews do their job safely and efficiently if you would:

  • Please only drive if necessary. Any vehicles abandoned in traffic lanes will be towed for safety reasons.

  • Treat our plows as you would an emergency vehicle; please pull over and allow them to pass.

  • Put the snow shoveled from your driveway and sidewalks onto your yard, not the street. This will speed up roadway access.

We cannot pull our trucks off their priority routes except in emergency/life safety situations. Also, our drivers cannot clear private driveways, private streets, businesses, or apartment complexes. Please note that there are Renton addresses outside our city limits. Those roadways are the responsibility of King County.

Use Renton Responds to report issues

Residents can also use Renton Responds, the city's quick and easy way for residents to report non-emergency services requests directly to city staff. During inclement weather requests will be prioritized to address safety hazards and traffic flow. Residents can also call Renton Police Department’s non-emergency number, 425-235-2121, to report non-life safety issues. If it’s an emergency, including downed power lines and trees, please immediately call 911.

Winter weather may also impact garbage and recycling collections. If the weather allows, all missed pickups will be the following Saturday. For more information or to contact customer services, please visit Republic Services.

We hope you'll keep this information handy. In the coming weeks and months, as situations require, we'll keep you informed of the city's winter weather response.

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