Clackamas County road maintenance prepared for winter storm
Clackamas County's road maintenance crews have been preparing for days in anticipation of a winter storm that could bring some snow and ice accumulation not only to communities on Mt. Hood, but those closer to the valley floor as well.
Clackamas County's Transportation Maintenance Division strategic plan for a winter storm is months in the making. According to to Kimberly Dinwiddie, county public information officer, the county's plan takes historical data into consideration when triaging what stretches of road might cause the most headaches for travelers when snow and ice begin to build up.
Dinwiddie said that a team of 60 county maintenance employees have been split into two, 12-hour shifts and are prepared to operate 27 trucks with plows, four deicer trucks, three road graders, three loader tractors and one snow blower for at least the next 48 hours straight.
According to Dinwiddie, higher trafficked roads and those connecting people to lifesaving services such as police, fire and hospitals receive top priority from maintenance crews before moving to less busy roads. Unfortunately, due to the high volume of road miles in Clackamas County — more than 1,400 miles to be exact — there are some roads that the county does not have time or manpower to maintain during winter storms, and the county asks residents in those areas to be extra cautious and thanks them for their patience as crews do their best to cover what they can. The county works in concert with ODOT to ensure both county and state roads are kept in the best shape possible for travelers to be able to operate their vehicles safely.
So far, the county has applied deicer to approximately 80 county roads in anticipation of approximately 1-3 inches in areas such as Oregon City, and as much as 3-7 inches in areas like Estacada. Road maintenance crews have also stockpiled certain equipment in strategic silos throughout the county as to better access those roads that will be a priority once accumulation does take place.
Despite ongoing efforts to prepare for poor driving conditions, Dinwiddie said that county residents should not expect deicer and plows to make roads safe. She advises everyone to slow down and always use caution when venturing out into the snow and ice.
"Just because we treated the roads with anti-icer, it does not mean that the roads will not freeze," she said. "The best thing to do is plan ahead and know before you go — check the road conditions before heading out. If you're not comfortable driving in the snow and ice, don't. Leave it to the pros or consider another way to travel."
Oregon motorists can use ODOT's TripCheck tool to plan their travel during winter weather.
Residents can follow the both Clackamas County and the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office's Twitter accounts to learn about crucial updates on road conditions and weather forecasts.
Weâ€™ve been preparing for the storm for days & working 24/7 to keep roads safe and passable. Our crews are staged throughout the county. Once the ice accumulates & the snow falls they will need room to work. Please make plans now to limit travel once the weather hits. #pdxtraffic pic.twitter.com/1f8ZV7Je59— Clackamas County, OR (@clackamascounty) February 11, 2021
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