PORTLAND, Ore. -- The city of Portland will use salt on roadways -- as needed -- for snowstorms this winter, Commissioner Dan Saltman announced.
Care will be taken to avoid polluting sensitive nature areas, he said. The city has 300 tons of salt on hand and can store up to 1,300 tons.
When and where salt will be used will depend on the conditions of the moment, Saltzman said, but he used Southwest Terwilliger, West Burnside and North Going onto Swan Island as examples of problem roads.
The city's winter weather snow plan of priority streets for snow plows includes Skyline Boulevard, Germantown Road, and Southeast 112th and Mount Scott Boulevard.
Six new trucks have been purchased specifically to spread salt.
The city has also purchased additional snow plow blades, which will be swapped onto city trucks used for other purposes. Drivers are being cross-trained to handle both types of equipment. Ten private contractors also will be removing snow as needed, he said.
During the press conference, it was noted that citizens will be able to track snow plow locations in real time.
Abandoned cars will be towed more quickly and strict chain enforcements for Sam Jackson Park Road and West Burnside will be strictly enforced, he said.
Transportation officials said while they don’t think this year will be as bad as last year, they are prepared.
“We have road salt and we plan to use it. We have new equipment including blades, salt spreaders, to boost our ice clearing capacity,” said Chris Warnere, the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s Deputy Director.
As for highways, the Oregon Department of Transportation's plows are mounted, snow routes have been reviewed, and they say they've learned lessons from last year.
“We have mag tanks full of magnesium chloride,” said Ted Miller, Portland Area Maintenance and Operations Manager with ODOT. “We're ready to go.”
The Washington Department of Transportation is preparing too, saying I-5 and I-205 will be a priority.
“We will attempt to maintain at least one lane open during any event,” said Aaron Yanez, Maintenance Supervisor with WSDOT.
This year if drivers in downtown Portland try to go up Burnside, Portland police say they’re going to get turned away at around 23rd Avenue if they don't have studs or chains.
“I actually beg you, please if your car is not prepared leave it at home. It really complicates things and increases our calls for service,” said Captain Mike Crebs with the Portland Police Bureau’s Traffic Division.
For those who don’t drive much or take public transportation, Portland Fire said people should remember to clear their driveways and sidewalks. Every year they get reports of people taking painful spills on slippery ground.
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