12/21/2008: "Public Works Working"
The National Weather Service is forecasting rain and snow, and freezes and thaws through Christmas night; adding to already hazardous conditions on County roads.
Two to three sanders and plows will be out early on San Juan, Orcas and Lopez islands, and Public Works Operations Manager Russ Harvey says that in places they’re facing new challenges.
In areas of Lopez Village and Eastsound they are running out of room to push snow, so if there is much new accumulation they will have to choreograph some additional pushing and piling.
“I’m also starting to think about the clean-up,” Harvey said. “We already have close to 500 cubic yards of sand (roughly 750 tons) on the roads and we will have to clear that off when it thaws.”
In the meantime, on many county roads there are several layers of snow and ice on the pavement and drivers will need to continue to proceed slowly and carefully until there is a serious thaw.
Given the current forecast Harvey expects that County plows and sanders will be working on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
With snow falling on roads already slick with ice, island road conditions are now some of the worst seen since the cold weather arrived. Public Works Director Jon Shannon said that while road crews are working to keep up, driving requires extreme caution
“At this point, we’d really like to encourage drivers to stay off the roads if at all possible.” said said Public Works Director Jon Shannon. The more cars on the road, the harder it is for us to keep them clear.” explained Shannon. In short, if you can stay home, do. Please drive smart and cautiously.