City crews clear roads of snow - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

City crews clear roads of snow

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The snow came earlier than expected on Friday, causing slowing for the morning commute. The snow came earlier than expected on Friday, causing slowing for the morning commute.
SPOKANE, Wash. -

The snow came earlier than expected on Friday, causing slowing for the morning commute.

Brian Coddington, Communications Director for the City of Spokane, says crews had been out even prior to the snow event with sanders and deicers preparing the roads for traffic to move safely along the city streets.

"We focus on the arterials, on the STA bus routes, on the hills, on the core downtown area and then around the hospitals," says Coddington.

The city has an annual $2.5 million budget for weather related costs; much of which is used for snow removal and deicing.

The numbers aren't in yet for the 2014 budget but city officials tell KHQ they came in approximately on budget which is calculated over the course of a calendar year. The same $2.5 million is allotted for those costs in 2015.

While the arterials and other main roads are well maintained during inclement weather, some who brave those side streets say they should also be cleared.

"There's snow on top of ice. Compact. It's very hard to get around," says Carmen Snyder who is a delivery driver.

This leaves many asking when those side streets will get some much needed attention as well.

"The only time we do an all city plow is when we have a stage two snow event," says Coddington. A stage two snow event is declared when there are six inches of snow on the ground with more expected during the same weather event.

Coddington says when that happens it takes all crews working 24 hour shifts over four or five days to get the entire city cleared. In order to do that for every snow, would be an extreme increase in cost.

Lawrence Softich, who lives on one of those side streets says while he would like his street and others like it to be cleared sooner, he understands why they are not.

"Am I willing to pay more taxes in order to get the streets done quicker," says Softich, "and just because I am doesn't mean that everyone else is. Would I like it to get done quicker? Yes, but am I and everybody else willing to do what it takes?"

Coddington says it's a difficult decision to make but it needs to be done. "We have to make a decision as to where we focus our resources and the decision is always going to be public safety."

On Friday the City of Spokane had 11 deicers and 5 sanders out clearing roads and anticipated having crews out through the weekend. They say the safe and efficient flow of traffic is a priority.

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