Seattle taking preemptive strike against icy roads

Seattle taking preemptive strike against icy roads
SEATTLE -- It's been nearly a year since the big Seattle snow storms of 2008 snarled city streets and brought a firestorm over the city's snow removal policies. But with freezing temperatures once again becoming a staple of December, the city of Seattle is not taking any chances this time.

We haven't had any snow in Seattle yet, but city workers are out there with anti-icing chemicals -- especially on the bridges and overpasses, just to make sure you don't hit any slick spots.

"We've had a heavy saturation on the roads for the last week, we've de-iced every day since Tuesday," said Monty Sedlak, the new head of street maintenance for Seattle.

He's been on the job just six weeks, but he's no stranger to snow removal having spent the past 30 years doing it in Colorado.

And the city's new strategy employs much more than just a new boss.

The surface patrol is another great tool the city is using. A little sensor signals the air temperature, the surface temperature of the roadway and the dew point. That way, maintenance drivers know exactly which chemical they need to put down.

"So if the relative humidity is high or if we have cloud cover, kind of misty, foggy conditions that's when we want to anti-ice," Sedlak said.

There were a few patches of ice around Seattle Monday, but the afternoon sun was helping to melt it.

As we move through winter, you may encounter Seattle streets that you think need more attention. If so, just give the city a call to request additional service. For those north of Denny Way call (206) 684-7508, and south of Denny Way call (206) 386-1218.

For now, as long as our cold temperatures continue, city trucks will be out with anti-icing chemicals because those liquids need to be applied at least once every 24 hours.

More information on the city's severe weather plan