Vancouver Public Works crews mobilize for possible icy conditions next week

VANCOUVER — Come Monday morning, while most of the city is still sleeping, Vancouver Public Works deicing trucks will be making a preventive advance on major streets, overpasses and hills.

Vancouver Public Works crews mobilize for possible icy conditions next week
Vancouver Public Works crews will make a preventive advance on major streets in deicing trucks on Monday morning. Photo courtesy of city of Vancouver

At the Public Works Operations Center, crews are prepared for next week’s forecast of possible snow, rain and freezing night temperatures. Given Vancouver’s generally low elevation, the main threat here is most likely to come in the form of slick, icy streets.

Deicing equipment has been mounted on Operations trucks, and ample supplies of deicing solution have been mixed up at the city’s east and west Vancouver sites. If the forecast holds, an early morning shift of eight deicers will hit the streets at 4 a.m. Monday as a preemptive strike. Because deicing solution on the street becomes diluted by rain, Operations crews are prepared to continue the pattern of early morning deicing for as long as conditions require.

With more than 1,800 lane miles of streets in the city of Vancouver, Vancouver Public Works prioritizes its response to provide the greatest support for the critical, core streets that connect police, fire and emergency medical services. Next in priority are hills, bus routes and areas around schools. Crew also work closely with Vancouver Fire and Police to provide emergency access where needed in severe weather conditions. Neighborhood streets, with their numerous driveways and parked cars, do not get deiced or plowed due to demands of keeping major streets open.

Icy streets can make for extremely treacherous travel conditions. Those who must drive in wintry conditions are urged to go slow, leave plenty of room to stop, and be alert to pedestrians and other vehicles. Property owners are responsible for keeping adjacent sidewalks passable.

Residents are encouraged to join the city in preparing for winter by having traction devices, shovels and emergency kits ready if needed. Vancouver Public Works also reminds Water Utility customers to insulate, wrap and protect water pipes and hose bibs during freezing conditions. Customers who experience freezing water pipes are encouraged to leave a faucet open and call a plumber. Never try to thaw pipes with a flame.

To report a problem with streets, traffic signal outages, downed trees or water, call Public Works’ Operations Center Dispatch at 360-487-8177. For urgent issues outside of regular Operations’ office hours, follow the directions to connect to the after-hours service line. (Note that service requests submitted after hours through the MyVancouver app and the city’s website are typically assigned the next working day.) Not sure if the problem site is within the city of Vancouver? Check the city’s website: www.cityofvancouver.us/CityLimitsMap.

Any weather-related cancellations or updates for garbage and recycling collections will be posted on the city’s website at www.cityofvancouver.us/solidwaste. To receive phone alerts for cancellations, customers should ensure that Waste Connections of Washington has their current phone number. Contact Waste Connections at 360-892-5370 or by email at customerhelp@wasteconnections.com.

For downed power lines, keep back and report to Clark Public Utilities at 360-992-8000 or 360-992-3000. In case of a life-threatening emergency, please call 911.

For more winter weather tips, information and updates, visit www.cityofvancouver.us/severeweather. Updates are also available through Public Works and other city social media channels, such as Facebook and Twitter, available online at www.cityofvancouver.us/socialmedia.

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About The Author

Ken Vance got his start in the newspaper industry in 1987 as a reporter at The Columbian Newspaper in Vancouver. Vance graduated from Stevenson High School in Stevenson, WA, and attended Clark College in Vancouver. He worked for The Columbian from 1987-2001. He was most recently a staff member of The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground, where he served as editor since 2010 and reporter since 2007. Vance’s work in the newspaper industry has won him multiple awards, including a first place award from the Society of Professional Journalists for in-depth reporting.

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