City of Vancouver Public Works crews and equipment are mobilized and ready to roll if and when nature delivers a wintry wallop.
Crews have already been out in frigid early morning hours over the past few days deicing overpasses, bridges and hills as a precaution against icy conditions. The City is currently monitoring conditions in the Vancouver area, and crews are prepped for the worst. The real battle may come Friday through Sunday, which holds a greater chance of delivering a full winter weather package –snow, sleet, freezing rain, freezing temperatures and strong winds - making for potentially hazardous road travel throughout the region, according to the National Weather Service.
Vancouver Public Works has 17 vehicles of varying sizes outfitted with combination plows and deicers to handle both snow or icy conditions. The City makes its own deicing solution, and both east and west Vancouver supplies are fully stocked in preparation. Vancouver's deicer, a mixture of water and sodium chloride, has been shown in testing to be safe and effective in concentrations and application levels used by the City.
“In addition to our regular day and swing shifts, two full crew are set to run starting Friday night in response to the most current weather forecasts,” said Ryan Miles, Operations Superintendent of Streets and Pavement Management. “Other crew will be continuously making brine for as long as that is an effective response to conditions.”
There are more than 1,800 lane miles of streets in the City of Vancouver. During severe weather, Vancouver Public Works prioritizes its response to deliver the strongest support for our community's public safety network.
First and top priority for the city's plows and deicers are critical arterials. Next come the remaining arterials, selected collectors, snow bus routes and key streets around schools and hills. Crews also work closely with Vancouver Fire and Police to clear the way to specific sites where emergency access is needed. During major snow and ice storms, just keeping the top priority critical streets open and passable is a process that has to be repeated again and again.
Neighborhood side streets do not get plowed due to these demands and limited resources, as well as difficulties presented by numerous driveways and cars parked along curbs.
Residents are encouraged to be prepared in advance with traction devices, snow shovels and emergency preparedness kits. Adjacent property owners are responsible for keeping sidewalks passable. Those who can are urged to lend a helping hand to elderly or disabled neighbors.
Vancouver Public Works also reminds customers to insulate water pipes and hose bibs to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting. Customers who experience freezing water pipes are encouraged to leave a faucet open and call a plumber. Never try to thaw pipes with an open flame.
To report a problem with City of Vancouver streets or water, please call Public Works Operations at 360-487-8177. In case of a life-threatening emergency, please call 911.
For more winter weather information and updates, visit www.cityofvancouver.us/severeweather.
Updates are also available through the City’s social media channels, such as Facebook and Twitter, available at www.cityofvancouver.us/socialmedia.
Contact: Loretta Callahan, Public Information/Community Relations, Department of Public Works, City of Vancouver, 360-487-8255 or firstname.lastname@example.org