Street crews are ready for Spokane's snow season - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Street crews are ready for Spokane's snow season

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

There’s no denying it – we’re in snow season. For the city of Spokane, that will last until March 15.

That means the city will be monitoring weather conditions all the time and if snowfall reaches certain thresholds, the city will declare a snow event.

But, what is the city’s snow cavalry? They have 41 plows, 15 de-icers, 10 sanders, and 10 graders. Some of those are already out on the streets.

“We just kind of adjust to the weather conditions as they come,” says Andy Schenk, Spokane street operations engineer.

The city covers 750 lane miles in arterials. But, it has 2200 lane miles in total if you count residential streets.

The crews typically concentrate on the hills, stops, curves and bridges, as well as the main arterials and bus routes.

If there’s enough snow on the ground, they’ll plow. They’ll also go over it with de-icers and sanders.

De-icing one lane mile takes about 15 gallons of product. Each gallon costs about 91 cents. To put this in perspective, on Sunday, they used about 1900 gallons to de-ice.

“It adds up to keep the people safe,” Schenk says. “Again I think there are statistics out there that by anti-icing you can reduce accidents up to 85 percent. So that's what we're trying to do.”

Schenk does have one reminder for everyone when driving around equipment.

“They're out there trying to do a job as safe as they can,” he says. “Give them some room. Be safe. Give yourself extra time.”

The city budgets about $2.5 million for snow removal for the year. In 2014, the city had about $148,000 left unspent in snow removal materials. For this year, with four weeks left in the year, the streets department has about $658,000 left to spend, partially because of the light winter we had.

When there is money left unspent, it stays within the department and could be used for things like the windstorm damage, but they would have to get permission from city council.

Crews are currently on winter season schedule, meaning there are crews 20 hours a day, working 10-hour shifts.

You can find more information on the city's website: https://my.spokanecity.org/streets/maintenance/snow-removal/

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