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WSDOT crews shifting focus to freezing conditions


February 24, 2011

OLYMPIA – As freezing temperatures take hold on wet roadways today and tonight, more than 200 Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) trucks are plowing and treating Western Washington roadways.

“Our crews have been working 24/7 shifts to address this late-winter storm by pre-treating roadways and plowing,” said Chris Christopher, WSDOT director of maintenance and operations. “We will continue on this schedule over the next 24 hours, particularly to focus on the potential problem of wet roads turning to ice.”

WSDOT crews in Central and Eastern Washington also are in high gear, using 300 pieces of snow-removal equipment to keep roads and passes open. Over the past three days, Interstate 90 at Snoqualmie Pass has received more than 38 inches of snow.

Temperatures statewide are expected to remain at or below freezing today, and progressively get colder overnight. When choosing to drive, motorists should:

• Drive for conditions – reduce speeds, use careful steering and slower braking.

• Slow down and watch for ice when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges, or shady spots.

• Avoid using cruise control.

• Leave extra room between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. And remember, large vehicles take longer to stop.

Christopher said maintenance crews, with the support of Emergency Operations Center staff, were able to stay ahead of most roadway snowfall accumulations Wednesday night and this morning. Roadway-clearing equipment was shifted to needed areas such as hard-hit Skagit and Whatcom counties, which received one to two feet of snow overnight.

Drivers across the state can plan for weather and road conditions by keeping plugged in to WSDOT Web and mobile tools and local media reports. WSDOT’s online tools are at


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