Drivers struggling, and so are plows
Just as they were gaining the upper hand, Spokane city and county road crews are back to plowing arterials and emergency routes.
The fresh snow is forcing crews to return to some of the main streets they’d already dug out from last week’s massive storm. But they’re also still working in residential neighborhoods like Browne’s Addition.
Blowing and drifting snow is hampering the work in places like the South Hill, Otis Orchards and the northern Palouse, along with the northwest corner of Spokane County. The county’s entire fleet of 90 snow-removal vehicles is on the job, and private contractors also have been hired.
In the meantime, driving remains treacherous. Hills in Spokane have been barely passable, said Spokane Police Officer Teresa Fuller.
Interstate 90 has been a parking lot at times and places, due to cars sliding off the road. Washington State Patrol has responded to about 50 collisions today, said WSP Trooper Joe Leibrecht.
“Unless you have four-wheel-drive and/or chains, do not venture out on the roads today!” county spokeswoman Martha Lou Wheatley-Billeter wrote in a press release.
Police are not responding to non-blocking or non-injury accidents, but recommend that drivers involved in fender-benders move off the roadway and exchange information, Fuller said. Also, police will not respond to cars stuck on side streets.
Idaho State Police reported packed and drifting snow on Interstate-90 in the Coeur d’Alene area. Four crashes and 36 slide-offs have been reported.
There are no serious injuries reported, Leibrecht said.
In the city, graders remain in residential neighborhoods but the work is slow, city spokeswoman Marlene Feist wrote in a press release.
County officials are asking people to check on neighbors who may need help digging out.
Warming centers are open at the House of Charity and the Salvation Army for single men and families. For women, open beds remain available at Hope House and Crosswalk for Youth.
In residential areas inside the Spokane city limits, crews have finished plowing the South Hill and nearing completion on the north side, Feist reported. In Browne’s Addition, north-south streets will be plowed on Tuesday, and east-west streets on Wednesday, Feist said.
For detailed plowing schedules in the city of Spokane, including maps, go to www.spokanestreetdepartment.org/snowplow.htm or call the Snow Removal Hotline at 456-2666. In Spokane Valley and unincorporated areas, check the plowing priority map at www.spokanecounty.org/data/engineers/pdf/pub/20082009PrioritySnowRoutes.pdf.
Those who live on unplowed streets should move their vehicles before scheduled plowing. Some crews have had to skip blocks because cars were parked alongside the
streets, Feist said.
Small cars in particular should be moved, or at least uncovered, so crews don’t mistake them for snow piles in need of clearing, warned Wheatley-Billeter.
City garbage collection is proceeding today but a number of trucks are stuck, Feist reported. Curbside recycling may not happen in all areas, she said.
Staff writer Jody Lawrence-Turner contributed to this report.