Washoe County Roads Crews Gearing Up for Another Wave of Storms

Washoe County’s roads crews are once again gearing up for a series of winter storms predicted to hit late tonight or tomorrow. And, once again, they are asking for the public’s help and patience as they begin a new round of snowplowing more than 1,000 miles of roads within the unincorporated areas of Washoe County with one-fourth less staff.

”We’ve had less calls this year than in the past from citizens asking that their neighborhood streets and cul-de-sacs be cleared,” explained Roads Superintendent Bill Oroszi. “I think there is general understanding that with the sustained budget cuts we’ve had over the past several years, we’ve had to reduce staff which, unfortunately, means it takes longer to treat priority one streets, and even longer before we’re able to service both the priority 2 and 3 streets.”

Priority 1 roads (arterials and collector streets) took several days to clear after last week’s storms before Priority 2 and 3 streets (neighborhood streets, cul-de-sacs and dead end streets) could be plowed. Even when snowplow drivers can get to Priority 2 and 3 streets, often they only have time to make a pass in and out to provide access before moving on.

“We understand that to the homeowner it may seem ridiculous that we can’t plow the entire width of the street as long as we’re there,” Oroszi noted. “But as these storms come in back to back, time is of the essence as we tackle 1,000 miles of roads with the arterials and collectors having top priority. We will eventually come back and clear the lower priority roads completely.”

Oroszi also noted that freeze thaw cycles create repetitive work on streets that typically have already been treated. That, along with traffic tracking over the snow on the streets, makes the job even more challenging by creating snow pack which adheres snow to the pavement and is harder to clear. The public’s help and patience is needed more than ever as County road crews do their best to keep up with the snow removal.

“We’ll go back to 24 hour shifts if needed,” Oroszi added. “But with one-fourth less staff, there’s less manpower to put out on the plows even working 24 hours. We really rely on the public’s help and patience during these times.”

You can help county snow plow operators by following these tips:

• Keep your vehicles and garbage cans off the streets so that the snowplow can plow your entire street.

• If you shovel your driveway, don’t dump the snow on the sidewalk or roadway.

• Be visible to snow plow operators by maintaining a safe distance behind them.

• Understand that your road will be plowed in accordance to the regional snow plan which prioritizes which roads get cleared first.

• Keep all objects out of the road and gutters so they don’t become flying objects

• Keep all drainage outlets open if possible to help in controlling melt off from snow/ice as temperatures rise during the day.

Links to the County’s snow plow plan, driving tips and other useful information is located on the County’s website at www.washoecounty.us; just click on the “read more” link on the photo of winter driving.