As far as snowfall goes, the past year was pretty mild for the Spokane area.
According to the National Weather Service, the area received 26.3 inches of snow during 2013 – less than normal, which is 42.7 inches.
That lack of snow saved Spokane Valley more than $140,000 in removal costs. Those funds remained in the street fund.
Public Works Director Eric Guth said a small crew of workers is on staff for street maintenance, but when snow is heavy, they look outside the department.
“We actually contract out some of our drivers,” Guth said, keeping full-time staffers on call. When there isn’t a lot of snow, the crew works on projects such as fixing potholes and signs and other maintenance issues.
But even when it isn’t snowing, there is still some weather management on the streets of Spokane Valley.
Guth said there are still freezing conditions, and the crew spends time de-icing the streets and pretreating hazardous areas that are shaded or hilly.
In 2013, the snow removal budget was $520,000, which includes $50,000 from the state for maintenance of Trent Avenue and Pines Road, which are state routes. The city spent a little more than $377,000.
In 2014, the budget for snow removal is also $520,000.
“(With budgets it’s) rarely that close when you’re dealing with Mother Nature,” Guth said.
With winter weather coming our way earlier this week, crews stayed busy pretreating the streets. When the snow comes, plows hit different streets on a priority basis: the primary arterials, secondary arterials, hillside residential streets and Valley floor streets.
On Tuesday, crews de-iced on street priorities one, two and three.
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