Opinion

Marysville ready for severe weather

When the recent pre-Thanksgiving holiday ice and snowstorm blanketed our region and brought daily life to a snail’s pace for a few days, the City of Marysville was ready.

Our Public Works crews mobilized earlier this year by readying snow removal equipment, stockpiling supplies, training, and updating the City’s snow routes map.

If the major snow and ice events during the past two winters taught us anything, it is that we would rather be over-prepared than underprepared. Public safety is a priority year-round, and no less so during a winter storm. We want to reassure citizens that the City of Marysville is committed to maintaining quality service during severe weather events, and doing what is necessary to protect lives and property.

Snow and ice removal are one of the city’s biggest unscheduled events. I commend our employees for their swift, well-orchestrated response to the recent storm. Our first concern is safety on local roads, and keeping traffic moving throughout Marysville as efficiently as possible.

The City maintains 411 lane miles of streets (196 miles of streets), which is roughly equivalent to the distance from Marysville to the California border. A general plowing operation includes a half-dozen vehicles covering 66 routes around the City. Street crews provide round-the-clock coverage, conducting periodic sanding and snow-ice removal to mitigate conditions during a severe weather event. Work is ideally performed during overnight hours when traffic is light, but a plowing operation can commence at a moment’s notice, such as our immediate response to SR 528 and 67th Avenue when vehicles were unable to get up the hill.

Marysville’s fleet consists of two five-yard trucks, two 10-yard trucks and one 3-yard truck each with plow and sanding capability. The City earlier this year purchased a third 10-yard truck, slightly used and winter-tested in Colorado. Street crews also use slide-in anti/de-icing liquid dispensing tanks and a motor grader.

During this snow event, Public Works crews dumped 180 tons of sand, and applied 35 tons of thawing agents and 50 gallons of anti-icing solution on local roads. The Public Works yard was amply stockpiled, with some materials reallocated to a new north satellite storage area near 156th Street to provide quicker response to Marysville’s north end and Lakewood neighborhoods. Crews chalked up 385 hours of worker time directly responding to the snow and ice event, including 181 hours of plowing. Total costs ran more than $30,000, excluding cleanup.

The question we get asked most often by residents during winter snowstorms is why the City doesn’t plow their own neighborhood road.

The City attempts to make local roads as accessible as possible for the public and commuters heading to and from work and schools, but simply doesn’t have the resources to plow or sand every residential neighborhood street and cul de sac.

The City’s Snow and Ice Removal Plan updated in 2010 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. The Street Department focuses removal efforts based on arterials leading in and out of Marysville, hillside arterials, fire and police access, and all other primary and secondary city routes. To view the Snow Routes map, visit the City website at http://marysvillewa.gov.

Marysville is a hilly city, so some roads may be closed by City personnel due to safety concerns. The City has crews that drive sanitation trucks and other heavy Public Works vehicles on a daily basis, in addition to police vehicles. We won’t jeopardize the safety of City employees by putting them in dangerous winter driving situations, for example, in inaccessible hilly areas. Sanitation crews, it should be mentioned, performed admirably under the circumstances to complete all garbage collection routes on time and on schedule.

The City recently unveiled new user-friendly options to provide citizens and businesses with the latest emergency alerts and updates on winter storm conditions. Our website offers a new “Emergency Alert” system that you can access. Click on the “Emergency Alert” icon in the lower left-hand corner of our website. A Red Emergency Alert light means emergency conditions exist in the City. The remodeled website next year will expand this service by sending emergency updates automatically to you via e-mail.

You can also call Marysville’s Emergency Alert Hotline at 360-363-8118, though water and sewer emergencies still must call 360-363-8100 during business hours, or 911 after hours. Information is also posted on our cable access stations, TV21 (Comcast) and TV25 (Frontier).

In my estimation, the pre-planning that occurred well before this first winter blast got our community through the storm relatively unscathed, and it bodes well that we will be ready for the next storm that this forecasted cold, wet and snowy winter is sure to deliver.

Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring can be reached at .

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