With snow falling across the Puget Sound region, it can be tough to decipher which roads are safe and where streets and highways have been plowed and treated. To that end, both the City of Seattle and the Washington State Department of Transportation have strategies to deliver that information.
Seattle lays out response plan as it braces for ‘major snow event’
Seattle employs 35 total snow plows, that largely prioritize transit and emergency routes, freeways, and the downtown area. Most major roads are plowed every 3 or more hours by crews working around the clock. That includes major highways like I-5 and I-90.
More remote areas and side streets — particularly in residential areas — tend to not be prioritized, although the city’s Storm Response Map shows that there are “planned response routes” for future treatment and plowing on most of these roads.
That all being said, side streets aren’t likely to get help right away in the wake of a major snowfall.
“We have almost 70 million square feet in the city of Seattle, and we have 35 snow plows at any given time,” Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan outlined. “Our plan is to focus on the things we need to plow to keep things moving — emergency lanes, bus routes. Don’t expect that your neighborhood will be plowed immediately.”
You can track where and when every street in Seattle has most recently been plowed here.
Outside of Seattle, WSDOT has its own response plan to clear snow off of highways and major commuter routes, employing approximately 500

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