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County plow operators prepare for snow, ice and COVID

Before the snow flies, Chelan County Public Works is cautioning the public that while the department’s snowplow operators will be hard at work this winter, impacts from COVID-19 may get in the way of snow and ice control at times. And if that happens, snowplowing efforts may be hindered.

Safeguards, such as masking and keeping operators to their individual trucks, are in place. But even one plow operator down may mean a route is not cleared as quickly as normal, said Brad Harn, road superintendent for Chelan County Public Works.

“What this year has taught us is that 2020 is full of surprises,” Harn said. “We will continue to follow COVID precautions, including masking, social distancing and sanitizing equipment, but there may be times when our road crews are short-staffed this winter because employees are sick or in quarantine.”

Public works maintains about 600 miles of county roads in five road districts. First priority roads include bus routes and major arterials, while second priority routes include minor and collector roads. Snowplow priority routes are available online.

Harn asked that the public have patience this snow season if staffing becomes limited.

“Crews will try their hardest to maintain some semblance of routine,” he said. “Highest on our priorities is the safety of our operators and the public.”

In the meantime, the public can brush up on Chelan County snow removal policies and guidelines on the Public Works website. And to help out your local snowplow driver, follow these tips:

  • Remove any vehicles, RVs and trailers from the shoulder of the roadway now. Don’t wait until the first snowstorm, when vehicles in the county right-of-way will hinder snowplowing efforts.
  • Keep other obstacles, such as garbage cans, out of the street. Weather can change quickly in North Central Washington and snow overnight means plows will be out early in the morning.
  • And do not shovel snow from your driveway into the roadway. Not only is it against county code, but it can create an obstruction for the county plow and the traveling public.

Last Updated: 11/08/2020 05:03 PM

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