It's time to start thinking ahead to snow season

Posted By: Public Works on October 18, 2017

It's time to start thinking ahead to snow season image

During the winter months, Chelan County Public Works crews are focused on keeping roads clear of snow and ice for the safety of travelers.

But there are three common misconceptions about the County’s snow removal process that seem to hit with every first snowfall.

MISCONCEPTION No. 1: When the snow flies, County crews plow around the clock

While County crews monitor weather and road conditions seven days a week during the winter, crews are not plowing 24 hours a day. To do so would be too costly.

Most days, crews begin plowing in the early morning hours and end in the late afternoon (to ensure school bus routes are cleared). In fact, unless contacted by emergency responders or the sheriff’s office, crews do not plow or sand at night.

In addition, while County maintenance district crews are fully staffed during the week, they are often only staffed at one to two employees on weekends. So it may take longer for some roads to be cleared on the weekend.

MISCONCEPTION No. 2: If it’s a County road, the County plows it

Chelan County makes every effort to maintain roadway access during the winter; however, it’s not possible to plow all roadways during every storm event.

The County has many primitive roads. These include dead end roads that don’t have a place for plows to turn around or even roads that are inaccessible to snow plows during the winter. The County has no budget to increase its primitive road winter maintenance.

Snow- and ice-control efforts are prioritized to assure vital access is maintained throughout the county. That means school bus routes and major arterials are top priorities during a snow event. Local access roads are plowed only after these roads.

Be aware of what type of county road you live on. If you need clarification, call the Public Works office. Check out high priority snow plowing routes or the Code of the West, both of which are on the Public Works website.

MISCONCEPTION No. 3: My road is covered in ice -- I need to call my local district

County crews closely monitor weather conditions and road conditions on a day-to-day basis (sometimes hour-by-hour) during the winter months. That means they are not in the office but out on the road doing snow and ice control.

If your County road is slick or impassable, report such problems to RiverCom, the County’s emergency dispatcher, at 663-9911. RiverCom will get the necessary information to the right people at the public works department. Public works crews work closely with RiverCom and the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office.

If you need to call between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on a weekday, call the Chelan County Public Works main office at 667-6415. Or, you can report a problem on the service request page.

But, more importantly, if your County road is impassable, play it safe by keeping off the roads.