After the Snow Falls: Public Works Crews hit the Road!

Though uncommon in Beaverton, snow can certainly make it difficult to accomplish everyday tasks such as going to the grocery store or picking up a prescription. When a winter storm hits, Beaverton Public Works crews work 24 hours a day to clear roads, remove fallen trees, and keep the street lights on.

Here is a glimpse of what happens before and after a winter storm event.

TUESDAY (2/9)- Public Works crews get their equipment ready for the snow event by making sure the five snowplows and sanding trucks are in working order.

WEDNESDAY (2/10)- Beginning to put chains on primary vehicle tires

THURSDAY (2/11)- Beginning to put chains on heavy-duty vehicles as well as police vehicles. Public Works staff begin to move to 24-hour shifts, 12 hours on, with 12 hours off.

“We have 10 two-person crews, split between the day/night 12 hours shifts for plowing and sanding, made up of our street and storm/sewer crews,” said Public Works Director Chad Lynn. “We had groups in our urban forestry group responding to the trees calls and our landscaping group deicing around city and public buildings. We also had our signals and street lighting crew responding to power outages as well, repairing and resetting systems as needed.”   

FRIDAY AND SATURDAY (2/12-2/13)- Crews continue to plow and sand streets.

SUNDAY (2/14)- Crews begin to prepare for thaw by clearing out catch basins to make room for melting snow. Trees that were knocked down due to the snow, ice and wind begin to be removed.

MONDAY (2/15)- Plowing and clearing catch basins continue.  

TUESDAY (2/16)- Crews are moved back into normal hours. Sand begins to removed from the streets. Sand removal continues for the rest of the week and will continue into next week.  

Snow Removal by the Numbers

-Approximately 1,400 staff hours were dedicated to the snow event, not counting prep work that happened before the event took place

-The city has five sanding trucks. One 10-yard truck with a sanding hopper and plow, one 10-yard truck with hopper sander and three small trucks with plows and sanding hoppers. The city also has a back-up 10-yard truck with a tow-behind sander for assisting in higher elevations and police requests.

-Around 130 yards of sanding rock (169 tons) were used on Beaverton streets for traction

-A F550 sander costs approximately $14,000 (just the add-on equipment, not the vehicle)

-A 10-yard truck plow costs approximately $13,000 (just the add-on equipment, not the vehicle)

-A F550 truck plow costs $8,000 (just the add-on equipment, not the vehicle)

-$1,400 in chain replacement due to the event.

-One recent addition to the snow fleet was a truck with a 500-gallon magnesium chloride tank that can be used to de-ice the roads before the event. However, due to the wet conditions preceding the snow, crews were unable to use this equipment.

“If there’s rain preceding the event, it just gets washed away,” said Lynn.

When can I expect my road to be serviced after a snow event?

For small or short winter events, sanding is sufficient. In the case of a larger event, the city has added a large plow to compliment the three smaller plows. Through an intergovernmental agreement there are streets inside the city that are maintained by the state and county and sanded by the city; in exchange the city gets several roads, overpasses, and bridges pretreated with deicer. Residential streets are not normally sanded, except for roads used for emergency vehicle access.

Residents looking for more information including a route map, can visit www.BeavertonOregon.gov/sanding.