Heavy snowfall Sunday night into Monday prompted a warning for drivers to stay off the road.
Dozens of crashes and stalled vehicles littered major roadways and surface streets across Puget Sound during Monday’s commutes. Slick conditions and steep hills prompted several street closures until conditions improve.
Mike Stenhouse, Renton’s Public Works Maintenance Services Director, warns the commute will likely be worse Tuesday morning than what drivers experienced on Monday.
“Tomorrow when they come to work, they are going to actually be driving on slicker roads than it was with the snow on them,” said Stenhouse.
Maintenance workers are taking on 12-hour shifts, getting behind the wheels of plows and trucks to treat main arterial roads first, then the secondary roads.
Washington State Patrol Sgt. Keith Leary said Monday that drivers were not prepared for the volume of snowfall and advised people to stay home if possible.
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"If you don’t have to come out here, don’t," said Leary. "We’re just asking people if you do have to go somewhere pack that extra time and that patience."
On Monday afternoon, crews spent hours working on the compact snow and ice with a mix of sand and salt in Renton’s neighborhoods. The fleet is moving as fast as they can, knowing that it could be a challenging week.
“It is going to start freezing. Our deicer, it is going to become a little less active, it is not going to work as well, and the salt brine, the same, once the temperatures drop below zero into the low 20s, down into the teens,” said Stenhouse.
"What we're seeing out here is people simply not prepared for this weather; a lot of bald tires and a lot of people traveling too fast," Leary said.
Slick, snow-covered roads were the primary cause of school closures Monday. By 11:45 p.m. Monday, over 170 school delays and closures were reported for Tuesday classes.
WSDOT said crews will be treating roads overnight Monday into Tuesday morning, and emergency crews will be assisting crashed and stalled vehicles.
"Icy conditions could last through Tuesday's AM commute. We'll be treating the roads but please help by slowing down, increase following distance & be cautious near road crews," WSDOT said in a tweet.
If you’re thinking about taking the bus instead of driving, King County Metro is operating all service on designated snow routes until further notice.
Routes 1,2, and 13 are not operating north of Roy Street in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood due to icy road conditions.
Eastgate and West Seattle Ride2 service was canceled Monday due to treacherous driving conditions.
Many Community Transit buses returned to regular routes by Monday afternoon, but some snow routes were still in effect. Click here to check rider alerts.
Riders should expect service to be delayed up to an hour.