An additional 70 miles of emergency snow and ice routes were approved by the King County Council in rural and unincorporated areas.
The additional mileage was approved during an Oct. 23 meeting and the miles will be added to the existing 583 miles which the county already plows. The 70 miles are generally commuter or connector roads which help people get in and out of their neighborhoods.
Neighborhoods that will see more snowplows are spread across the county, but will be focused in areas that are at or above 500 feet above sea level. The county also hopes to clear roads faster, shortening its response time from five to four days for clearing roads.
The increase comes after severe winter storms last February led to the county and several cities declaring states of emergency. The National Weather Service is predicting that the next three months could be slightly warmer than normal in King County.
Last winter, crews worked around the clock to clear ice and snow. The county operated 30 trucks and has a staff of 120 employees who clear roads.
“More people will be able to travel safely. While it is unfortunately not possible for every road in King County to be plowed, this plan creates a sense of predictability in terms of which roads will be plowed in a winter snowstorm, and that predictability will help others prepare for the winter,” said county council member Kathy Lambert in a press release.