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Road crews are sanding and plowing in Tacoma and Pierce County, but be careful out there

Post by Kris Sherman / The News Tribune on Feb. 24, 2011 at 11:26 am |
February 24, 2011 11:41 am

Road crews in Tacoma and Pierce County are working overtime to dump sand, lay down rivers of brine and plow snow drifts away on major arterials to keep them passable for commuters, officials said this morning.

Stock snow plow pic from Pierce County roads website

But their best advice: Be careful out there.

Though arterials are being treated to bare-and-wet conditions, county road maintenance manager Bruce Wagner and city spokesman ROb McNair-Huff said drivers should remain cautious on all roadways

Side streets, particularly those with hills or in higher elevations not near the water, are the most dicey, McNair-Hugg said.

Crews working 12-hour shifts concentrate on major roadways first, so residential streets can be still coated with snow and ice. Crews won’t get to those until they’ve got all the main roads handled. And as long as it keeps snowing, that could take some time, McNair Huff said.

Two treacherous streets that were closed overnight in Tacoma have been reopened this morning, but city spokesman Rob McNair Huff said they could be barricaded again if conditions worsen. Those trouble spots are Division between Tacoma Avenue and Stadium Way and South Fourth Street at Stadium Way.

In Pierce County road crews are out working to sand and de-ice 1,500 lane miles of primary roads to get them bare and wet and for people who need to get to work or other places, road maintenance manager Bruce Wagner said this morning.

But, as in the city, side streets aren’t a priority until what he called the “life safety” roads are clear. And that’s a challenge because it’s been snowing in many area this morning, Wagner said.

If you need to travel, take special caution on side roads, which will be slippery, particularly on grades, he said.

In addition, there are piles of snow at Ashford, Elbe and Greenwater, and crews will be working to get roads clear. That work will involve some heavy-duty snow removal, Wagner said.

AND A PERSONAL SNOW REPORT:

It snowed heavily in some areas of greater Gig Harbor and in the island areas of Southern Puget Sound from about 8:30 to 10:30 this morning.

The snow began with a fine mist and than morphed into big blowing flakes that are sticking to trees and adding to inch or so of snow cover already coating the ground and deck railing at my house.

The gray clouds, laden with moisture, were so thick that I couldn’t see Steilacoom Ketron, Anderson or McNeil islands, all of which are clearly visible from my house on most days.

At one point, it was so gray outside, there was no delineation between sky and water. It was just one gray mass tinged with white.

Now, the snow has stopped, the sky is bright and the visibility is good across the Sound and all the way south toward Olympia.

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