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 be prepared, too.
City Public Works crews have already mobilized 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 in recent weeks have also hosted pre-snow and ice meetings to share strategies and information with neighboring jurisdictions and utilities.
"We are well-prepared for any major snow and ice events that might impact Marysville this year," Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring said. "Our trained and dedicated snow and ice response teams are ready to keep traffic moving and motorists safe on local roadways to the best of our ability and with the least amount of disruption, while protecting lives and property."
Road safety is the top priority, along with keeping traffic moving throughout Marysville as efficiently as possible, according to Public Works Director Kevin Nielsen. The city Street Department maintains 196 miles of streets within the city limits. Street crews provide 24-hour coverage, conducting periodic sanding and snow-and-ice removal to mitigate conditions during a severe weather event. An in-house database system tracks response to dispatched crews in order to create more efficient work flow.
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 5-yard trucks, a 1-ton truck for plowing and sanding, and another that dispenses anti-icing liquid, according to Streets and Surface Water Manager Charlie Burke.
Nielsen explained that the city's Snow and Ice Removal Plan designates snow and ice routes for sanding and plowing using a zoned system. Within each zone, a system of priority has been established, taking into consideration topography, traffic volumes and special usage.
During events when 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 priority 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 west of I-5 in the Lakewood area, along with 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 routinely first to close during ice and snow conditions. Burke explained that, 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. Pedestrians should stay off the roads, too.
City officials are often asked why neighborhood streets aren't addressed.
"We go all-out to make our roads as accessible as possible for the public and commuters heading to and from work or schools, but the city doesn't have the resources and equipment to plow or sand residential neighborhood streets and cul-de-sacs," Burke said. In rare instances, he noted, crews can respond to other snow and ice removal outside the norm, if requested by 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," Nielsen said. "We won't jeopardize the safety of city employees by putting them in dangerous winter driving situations, for example, in hilly areas rendered inaccessible."
The city Public Works yard is amply stockpiled with sand and de-icer, with a proportion of the materials stored at a north satellite storage area near 156th Street for quicker response to Marysville's north end and Lakewood neighborhoods.
When notified of upcoming black ice alerts, Public Works will schedule overnight crews to apply the de-icing mix to bridge decks, overpasses and other known problem areas.
"These applications do not guarantee that all roads will be free of ice," Burke said. "Drivers still need to be cautious and use common sense when driving in freezing weather."
He elaborated 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," Burke said.
For the most current information online about local emergency or road conditions and preparedness, visit the city website at http://marysvillewa.gov. The website includes several interactive features, including an Emergency Alert Center that offers the latest updates. Take a minute to sign up and get emergency alerts sent to your email address and cell phone through the site's "Notify Me" email subscription service.
Updates are also posted on the city's Facebook and Twitter sites, as well as on the Marysville Comcast TV21 and Frontier TV25 cable access stations. You can also call the city's message-only Emergency Alert Hotline at 360-363-8118, according to Community Information Officer Doug Buell. 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.
"The city of Marysville is proactive about preparedness," Nehring said. "We urge residents to do the same."