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City and county prepare for onslaught of cold weather

King County and Kirkland are preparing for winter weather conditions as an early snowfall sprinkled the region last weekend.

King County Metro warned drivers to prepare for possible travel disruptions because of last weekend’s snowfall while Kirkland finished its standard preparations for icy driving conditions. The city normally prepares for icy conditions during September and October and will begin to spray anti-ice product as the conditions require.

“There are certain criteria that need to be met before the product can be sprayed…such as temperature and dryness,” said Greg Neumann, street and grounds manager for Kirkland. “We are also very aggressive with our road sweeping this time of year to pick up the fallen tree leaves and needles.”

Kirkland public works has met with the fire, police and parks departments to go over their responsibilities during a snow event and, according to Neumann, the city has checked snow removal equipment, such as plows, sanders and de-icing sprayers to make sure they function properly.

King County road service crews are now on rotation and available to sand and plow mapped snow routes, according to a King County press release.

“Snow removal route maps, and road closure maps are updated to reflect any changes identified from a previous year’s event,” Neumann said.

According to a Metro press release, Metro has the ability to chain its fleet and shift buses to snow routes. As weather conditions continue to develop, Metro urges customers to familiarize themselves with the planned snow route for their regular bus.

Additionally, Metro asked drivers, in the release, to call the 24/7 Roads Helpline at (206) 477-8100, or 1 (800) 527-6237 to report road traffic safety issues in unincorporated King County, such as downed stop signs, malfunctioning signals or trees over the roadway.

Neumann recommends that Kirkland residents use common sense when on the roads in winter conditions.

“Watch your speed, allow extra time to get where you need to go and if you don’t need to drive in it, don’t,” he said.

Additionally, Neumann said drivers should make sure their gas or diesel tank is topped off in case they’re delayed in traffic back-ups and have rainproof boots and gloves in case they need to leave their vehicle.

While there are ways to stay safe on the roads, there are also ways to keep off of the roads as much as possible. According to Neumann, this is a good way to minimize driving risks.

“Make sure your home is stocked with food and essentials when weather predictions are indicating the possibility of snow,” he said. “So you don’t have to drive to the store during the event.”

Metro is staffing their control center to actively monitor the forecast and will respond to changing weather conditions as they affect roads across the county, according to the Metro release.

Metro is also preparing water taxi crews and airport personnel to keep all travelers safe and informed during winter weather conditions.

Water taxi crews are prepared to respond to icy conditions should they develop at the docks served by the water taxi, which currently operates weekday service, according to the release.

“During a snow event, there is a lot of information posted on the city’s website to update folks on snow plowing routes, road closures and other useful information,” Neumann said.

Drivers can also find more information about travel conditions on MetroWinter.com, the King County My Commute page or the Eye on Your Metro Commute.

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