Snow response 'went well overall' says WSDOT

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by JAKE WHITTENBERG / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @jakewhittenberg

KING5.com

Posted on December 29, 2010 at 6:50 PM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 29 at 7:32 PM

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How did WSDOT do responding to this storm as compared to the one in November?

EVERETT, Wash. – Despite drivers getting trapped in a 7-mile backup on a snowy Interstate 5 near Everett Wednesday morning, the Washington State Department of Transportation says it was ready for the storm.

The snow and accidents clogged up traffic so much, WSDOT road crews had a tough time getting to the trouble spots.

Colin Rowe, 19, was one of the people who had a bad start to his day. He was trying to merge onto the slick road and was hit by another driver. Check your traffic

"He swerved into me and I hit the brakes and slid, too. There was nothing really I could do about it," said Rowe.

The Washington State Patrol says I-5 was so congested because of all the accidents, troopers were escorting plow trucks through traffic to clear snow. Click here for links to AAA, public transportation, road closures

"The road crews' response time was really good," said Driver Darin McCain. "If they could have done that a little earlier it would have been better."

WSDOT says it pre-treated the roads with de-icer just before the storm hit. Extra crews were also on standby to help clear the roads. At the Traffic Management Center, WSDOT watched for accidents and trouble spots and sent salt trucks to those areas.

So why were there still big backups? WSDOT says snow in the convergence zone near Everett hit so hard and fast, it was difficult for snow removal crews to be everywhere at once.

"I think things went well overall. Every storm has new challenges. You always look back on things you could do better," said Dave McCormick, WSDOT Operations Manager.

WSP says drivers need to plan ahead better. Troopers saw problems with drivers abandoning their cars on the side of the road when conditions worsen.

"We're seeing folks who are still unprepared for the weather. Their vehicles are unprepared. Their tires are not proper for driving," said Trooper Keith Leary.

Community Transit had to delay some buses Wednesday morning due to the snow. There could be more problems Thursday morning because roads could freeze up. Riders are urged to check the Community Transit website for updates.
 

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