Portland road crews ‘ready for whatever weather throws at us’

Weather

Only one person will be inside snow plow trucks this year, so drivers should be extra cautious

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Snow is in the forecast and crews in Portland are working hard to prepare the roads.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation leapt into action when slow fell at upper elevations of the Portland metro area in January. PBOT and the Oregon Department of Transportation said they’ve got their winter tools ready to go if more snow falls in the coming days.

On Monday night, PBOT used 3,700 gallons of magnesium chloride, which is the de-icer used to treat routes across the city. ODOT has been putting blades on their snow plows and has sand and salt at the ready.

Full weather forecast here

ODOT will be carefully monitoring roads to decide where salt should be used, specifically in areas that have been historically problematic.

“We are watching salt most carefully in a couple of spots, mostly the hilly areas we are watching for example on Highway 26 coming out of the Vista Ridge tunnel,” said Don Hamilton with ODOT. “We are also watching salt carefully coming up on I-5 on Breeze Hill, that’s the area going north on 217.”

PBOT is asking drivers to be cautious around trucks. Due to the pandemic, PBOT trucks are no longer crewed by two people. Drivers should be alert knowing there’s no longer a second set of eyes inside PBOT trucks. Remember: don’t pass snow plows or follow too closely behind them.

ODOT’s tips on winter weather safety

“The driver has to concentrate even more on the road,” John Brady with PBOT said. “Our crews are working really hard to be safe.”

Depending on the amount of snow that falls in the Portland area, PBOT is ready to transition to 24/7 operations.

Drivers are also getting ready, with many getting chains and traction tires at places like Les Schwab.

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