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Washoe County road crews update plan for winter storms in Incline


washoe-300x294-6609159-7485041Washoe County’s road crews have implemented some new snow operation plans for the Incline area this winter, which include judging the intensity of snowfall per hour, and repeating snow removal on Priority 1 routes to schools and the hospital as needed.

“Weather forecasting technology continues to improve, and that helps the maintenance professionals make the best operational decisions,” said Washoe County Operations Division Director Dave Solaro. “Incline Village has 73 miles of paved public roads, and for the 2012-2013 winter season we are assigning as many operators as conditions require in Incline/Crystal Bay to run the 11 snow removal routes managed by the County. The Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) maintains the major highways, including the Mount Rose Highway and State Route 28, and we coordinate our efforts with NDOT.”

Washoe County will be servicing the Incline/Crystal Bay areas with operators who have worked the high elevation storms and cumulatively have over 150 years of snow removal and road maintenance experience. When storms are forecast, a Roads staff member at the Incline Maintenance Facility will work to oversee snow removal operations 24 hours a day. All staff working these events have experience in the Incline Village/Crystal Bay areas.

“We also have preliminary surveillance, which consists of a road employee monitoring the weather forecast and driving all elevations as the weather comes in to ascertain the intensity, snow level, temperatures and wind, prior to calling in all crews,” said Solaro. “The surveillance is done by Roads employees who live in the Incline/Crystal Bay area, so we have eyes and ears on the situation every day. We also consult with the Sheriff’s Office and North Lake Tahoe Fire personnel to ensure we’re all aware of specific safety issues.”

The County’s Snow and Ice Plan for the winter lists Priority 1 roads, known as major highways, arterials and collector streets necessary for schools and hospitals, as the first to be plowed. Priority 2 roads, which are normal neighborhood streets, are next, followed by Priority 3 routes, such as cul-de-sacs and industrial streets.

Information regarding individual streets can be found at http://wcgisweb.washoecounty.us/SnowPlowand here.

The County’s Road Division has a total available operator staff of 50 employees. Of those, six employees are dedicated to the Gerlach area, and all other staff work in the Truckee Meadows/Incline/Crystal Bay area and are deployed specifically to each storm. Crews expect to have all Priority 1 streets plowed by 7:00 a.m., dependent upon the strength and levels of snowfall.

Despite the vast area County crews must cover, which is more than 1,000 miles, Solaro said crews are able to maintain high citizen satisfaction due to outstanding cooperation from the public, and there are many ways residents can help speed the snow and ice clearing process:

  • When shoveling a driveway, don’t dump the snow on the sidewalk or roadway as it increases the snow load on the equipment and worsens berms in driveways
  • Be visible to snowplow operators by maintaining a safe distance behind them
  • Understand that roads will be plowed in accordance with the regional snow plan which prioritizes which roads get cleared first
  • Keep all objects out of the road and gutters so they don’t become flying debris
  • Keep all drainage outlets open if possible to help control the melt-off from snow and ice as temperatures rise during the day
  • Avoid walking in roadways when snow removal operations are in process
  • Keep vehicles and garbage cans off the streets so crews can plow the entire street

For more information on the Washoe County Snow and Ice Plan, please visitwww.washoecounty.us/pubworks/sno_ice_control.htm or call (775) 328-2187 with general questions*.

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