||Mafara Hobson (EOM) at (202) 727-2807|
||Karyn Le Blanc (DDOT) at (202) 497-4572|
||Linda Grant (DPW) at (202) 671-2375|
(Washington, DC) Mayor Adrian M. Fenty along with District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Director Gabe Klein and Department of Public Works (DPW) Director William O. Howland Jr. announced the city's readiness as the first threat of snow approaches the District.
"The District is prepared and poised to deploy for the 2009 - 2010 snow season. DDOT and DPW have been preparing for months readying equipment, procuring salt, improving routes and training personnel," said Mayor Fenty. "The city is ready and on alert for the season's first threat of bad weather."
Planning for winter weather begins in the summer, far in advance of the first snowfall. Coordination efforts include servicing equipment, inspecting vehicles, training personnel, stocking supplies, filling salt domes and evaluating deployment plans and route configurations.
The District Snow Team will be using improved route plans that were implemented last year which divide the city's neighborhoods into smaller, more manageable routes. Additional equipment is ready and personnel have been trained.
The District has 330 pieces of equipment and 750 personnel available for any given storm. This includes additional contract plows, if necessary, for major weather events.
“The District monitors forecasts and weather predictions constantly over the winter months in anticipation of any adverse weather,” said DDOT Director Gabe Klein. “Current forecasts indicate minor snow and ice in the District but temperatures are anticipated to go below freezing on Saturday night. We will treat the roadways, as necessary, throughout the storm.”
The deployment plan for this weekend’s storm includes 107 heavy trucks, 82 light trucks, and activation of the salt domes. Snow command and fleet operations centers will be open early Saturday morning.
The District's 5 salt domes are filled to capacity with 40,000 tons of salt. In addition, there are two 15,000 gallon tanks of brine on hand and four tanker trucks that will be used in advance of forecasted storms.
"We are ready for the season and want our residents and businesses to be ready, too," said DPW Director Howland. "It is important to spread salt or non-clumping kitty litter on sidewalks once the storm hits. This will make clearing sidewalks a lot easier after the storm." He also asked residents and businesses to clear sidewalk entrances, nearby catch basin openings, and the area surrounding hydrants of snow, sleet and ice to prevent possible injuries to pedestrians.
Director Howland noted that DPW will suspend leaf collection on Saturday, December 5, to allow staff to prepare the trucks for the weekend's predicted snowfall. Leaf collection employees and equipment form the backbone of DPW's snow fighting team; so when snow is predicted, leaf collection trucks are taken out of service to have plows and salt spreaders mounted on them.
DDOT and DPW remind commuters and residents to:
- Remember that driving on ice is significantly different than driving on snow.
- Use extreme caution and maintain safe speeds and distances from other vehicles.
- Remember even a 4-wheel drive SUV does not perform well in ice and additional safety measures should be followed.
- Be aware of road conditions, particularly black ice which can be deceptive in its appearance giving the driver a false sense of security on the road.
- Watch for slippery bridge decks, even when the rest of the pavement is in good condition. Bridge decks will ice up sooner than the adjacent pavement.
- Remember to keep a safe distance from emergency and snow vehicles and please use caution when attempting to pass a snowplow. Give the drivers plenty of room to safely do their jobs.
- Clear all the snow and ice from your vehicle's windows and lights — even the hood and roof — before driving.
- Help your elderly or disabled neighbors remove snow from steps and sidewalks.
- Clear catch basins and fire hydrants.
- Please do not put snow in the street. Put all cleared snow, from parked cars and sidewalks, in the "tree box," front yard, or between the curb and sidewalk.