First of all, the city has completed the Shell Valley emergency access road (see information on Thursday’s ribbon cutting here), providing neighborhood residents with a way to travel safely to and from home without having to navigate the steep and winding road during a snow event. In addition, the road will provide a safe entry for police and fire to respond to an emergency within Shell Valley.
Second, to improve traction on snowy or icy roads, the City’s Street Department will deploy two “pre-wetter” units attached to two of its three sanding trucks. These units provide better traction from sand that is applied to icy surfaces, said Tod Moles, the city’s street/storm manager. “The pre-wetter sprays a mist of anti-ice onto the sand as it is being distributed to the road surface,” Moles said. “This wet sand bonds to the ice rather than just scattering to the edge of the road by passing cars. The technology has been proven very effective in both improved traction and decreasing the volume of sand being distributed.”
City equipment includes three dump trucks equipped with sanders and plows, a 1-ton flatbed with a plow for doing municipal parking lots, and an anti-ice truck.
Third, the street department has an agreement with the Washington State Department of Transportation to access the salt/sand mix stored at WSDOT facilities “as a last resort,” Moles said. “In the past we have tried to avoid the use of salt due to the negative environmental impact,” he said. “If we encounter another extended snow and ice event, we will look to this type of treatment to help break up the icy conditions on our major arterials.”
Moles said the city’s anti-icing program is focused on the city’s busiest streets due to limited funding for materials, equipment and labor in the Street Maintenance Fund. “The anti-icing material provides the highest benefit on the City’s most heavily traveled routes,” he said. “The higher traffic volume packs the snow and turns it into ice.” The anti-icing treatment assists in melting the snow so that the ice doesn’t form as easily and any ice that develops doesn’t bond as readily to the pavement, he added.
The city has a priority snow route list here, which motorists can use to determine the safest route for navigating the City of Edmonds during a snow event.
In addition, citizens can now follow the street department’s snow response via Twitter — @EDMONDSPW.