Let it snow


The song “Let It Snow” starts out, “Oh, the weather outside is frightful…” and we did see some amazing snow totals across Pierce County a few days ago.  While most of us stayed safely at home building epic snowmen or videoing puppies in the snow, our Planning and Public Works Team was on the job – and the roads – 24 hours a day!

My thanks to Bruce Wagner, Maintenance Manager with Planning and Public Works, for the fantastic work his team did over the long snowy weekend.  Between the Road/River Operations Center command teams, the road supervisors who constantly monitor the road conditions, our snowplow drivers, the mechanics who keep everything running, and the logistics folks who make sure we have plenty of salt, it takes many people working literally around the clock on 12-hour shifts to ensure our roads are safe and passable.

I’d also like to thank Matt Hinderman, a Maintenance Tech with PPW.  I had the chance go behind the scenes and hop in his snowplow truck to see how it’s done. I am pretty experienced driving in the snow, but I choose very carefully when I go out and which routes I drive – and I am 100% focused on staying safely on the roads. Matt has been plowing roads for several years, so I was riding with a real pro!  He and his colleagues are out in the worst of the weather, day and night, driving safely AND managing their plows, applying salt, avoiding garbage cans, and always wary for “crazy” drivers who race around them or are stuck in a ditch!

You can see for yourself how PPW keeps our roads safe and passable during snow events in the latest edition of my video blog, Inside Pierce County.

Here are a few fast facts about PPW’s work to clear our roads last weekend:

  • Snow Moving Equipment used by type:
    • 12 – 10-yard trucks – they focus on our wider high-traffic roads.
    • 20 – 5-yard trucks – they are used throughout the County – Matt was driving one in the video!
    • 5 – 1-ton trucks – they focus on the smaller trouble spots that are tough for the bigger trucks.
    • 3 – graders – they generally work the higher elevations to move the larger snowfalls.
  • 113 hours of continual operation during storm
  • 6,718 total labor hours
  • 1,077 tons of salt used
  • 3,400 lane miles of snow cleared (some of which were cleared more than once)

What an impressive operation!  I know you join me in thanking every person in the department who performed their job so well for the benefit of our residents.

Our snow may have melted but I’m afraid it is wreaking havoc across other parts of the United States. Please keep a good thought for those living in some of the hardest hit areas – especially Texas. They say everything is bigger in Texas but I’m sad to learn that they are dealing with a huge catastrophe without heat or running water.  I’ve even seen photos of icicles hanging from ceiling fans – unbelievable!

Thanks for reading (and watching),