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City of Marysville prepares for cold, wet winter, urges citizens and businesses to do the same

MARYSVILLE — Marysville Public Works, Police and Emergency Management personnel have been training, reviewing and preparing for when the season delivers its first winter storms, and they urge residents and businesses to also be prepared.

The National Weather Service has predicted La Nina weather conditions that spell a colder, wetter winter for Marysville and Snohomish County residents.

City Public Works crews mobilized earlier this year for the coming snow and ice by readying snow equipment, stockpiling supplies, training staff for emergency response and updating the city's snow and ice routes map. Public Works and Emergency Management staff also hosted and attended pre-snow and ice meetings in October to share strategies and information with other local jurisdictions.

"Major snow and ice events in recent years have made it clear that it is better to be over-prepared than underprepared," Mayor Jon Nehring said. "The city is dedicated to delivering public services to the best of our ability and without disruption during severe weather, and to protecting lives and property."

Safety on local roads is the top priority, along with keeping traffic moving throughout Marysville as efficiently as possible, said Kevin Nielsen, Public Works Director. The Street Department maintains 196 miles of streets within the city. Street crews provide 24-hour coverage, conducting periodic sanding and snow-ice removal to mitigate conditions during a severe weather event. An in-house database system tracks the responses to dispatched crews in order to create a more efficient workflow.

Marysville's fleet includes several vehicles equipped for snow and ice control, including three 10-yard trucks for plowing and sanding, and another 10-yard truck that sands, as well as two five-yard trucks, a one-ton truck for plowing and sanding, and another that dispenses anti-icing liquid, said Charlie Burke, Streets and Surface Water Manager.

The city's Snow and Ice Removal Plan designates snow and ice routes for sanding and plowing using a zoned system, Nielsen said. Within each zone, a system of priority has been established, taking into consideration topography, traffic volumes and special usage.

During events where snow and ice conditions are widespread, street personnel concentrate their removal efforts based on the following:

• Arterials leading in and out of the city.

• Arterials located on hills within city boundaries.

• Fire and police access.

• All other arterials within city boundaries.

That means response is focused on principal routes and arterials, such as State, 51st, 67th, 83rd and Twin Lakes avenues, as well as Fourth, Grove, 88th 116th, 136th, 152nd and 172nd streets, the latter west of I-5 in the Lakewood area, and Sunnyside, Ingraham and Smokey Point boulevards. To view the Snow Routes map, visit the city website at http://marysvillewa.gov. Steep roadways such as 84th Street past Cedarcrest Golf Course are regularly first to close during ice and snow conditions. When "Snow Closure: Do Not Enter" signs and barricades are placed at these locations, in the interests of public safety, motorists are advised not to go around them, said Burke. Pedestrians should stay off the roads, too.

City officials are asked often during and after storms why neighborhood streets aren't addressed.

"We strive to make our roads as accessible as possible for the public and commuters heading to and from work or schools, but the city does not have the resources and equipment to plow or sand residential neighborhood streets and cul de sacs," said Burke. In rare instances, however, crews can respond to other snow and ice removal outside the norm, but only at the request of Marysville Police or Fire personnel.

Nielsen added that some roads may be closed by city personnel due to safety concerns.

"We have crews driving sanitation trucks and other heavy Public Works vehicles on a daily basis, in addition to police and their vehicles," said Nielsen. "We won't jeopardize the safety of city employees by putting them in dangerous winter driving situations, for example, in inaccessible hilly areas."

The city Public Works yard is amply stockpiled with sand and de-icer, with a proportion of the materials relocated to a new north satellite storage area near 156th Street to provide quicker response to Marysville's north end and Lakewood neighborhoods, Burke said.

When notified of upcoming black ice alerts, Public Works will schedule a two-person crew to start no later than noon to apply the de-icing mix to bridge decks, overpasses and other known problem areas to prevent icy conditions.

"These applications do not guarantee that all roads will be free of ice," said Burke. "Drivers still need to be cautious and use good judgment when driving in freezing weather."

Burke said that while city officials do not ask or encourage citizens to clear away debris blocking the city-maintained 9,976 public catch basins along streets, there are other things they can do to help make sure that melting snow and water goes where it needs to go.

"If you have a storm drain or catch basin that is out front of your home or in your driveway, use a shovel or broom to clear the drain of snow the same as our crews are doing, which will help prevent flooding," said Burke.

For the most current information online about local emergency or road conditions and preparedness, visit the city website at http://marysvillewa.gov. The site, which was renovated last spring with several new interactive features, now includes an Emergency Alert Center that offers the latest updates. For your added convenience, you may sign up for emergency alerts sent automatically to your email through the site's "Notify Me" email subscription service.

Updates will also be posted on the city's Facebook and Twitter sites and on Marysville TV21 on Comcast and TV25 on Frontier Communications. You can also call the city's message-only Emergency Alert Hotline at 360-363-8118, said Doug Buell, Community Information Officer. For water and sewer emergencies during business hours, call 360-363-8100 or 911 after hours.

The city website also includes tips to plan for bad weather, in addition to other winter hazard and emergency preparedness-related links.

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