Kent officials outline city's snow and ice response plan for winter storms

Drivers head along West Meeker Street during a January 2012 storm. - Kent Reporter, file photo
Drivers head along West Meeker Street during a January 2012 storm.
— image credit: Kent Reporter, file photo

City officials say Kent is ready for winter weather with enough sand, de-icer and salt on hand to get through two, four-day storms.

City streets superintendent Bill Thomas said every effort is made to reduce the safety threat due to snow and ice on Kent's 360 miles of roadway. “It’s critical for public safety,” Thomas said.

Thomas said the city's snow and ice response plan identifies streets that are essential to traffic movement, and those are cleared on a priority basis. The response plan is as follows:

Kent's subscription to a weather service provides daily reports on current and upcoming weather concerns. Its 24-hour monitoring system informs staff of changing weather patterns that might affect road conditions. With these reports, crews can be ready for upcoming storms within two hours.

Two, 11-person crews are available to respond 24-hours per day. They have access to eight snow plows, of which 7 have sanders, two de-icer trucks, two road graders and eight variable message boards to be placed in anticipation of major road closures.

When notified of a pending storm, at 4 a.m. a two-person crew starts applying de-icer to bridge decks, overpasses and other known problem areas to prevent icy conditions.

These applications do not guarantee that all roads will be free of ice. Drivers still have to be cautious when driving in freezing weather. To alert drivers to freezing conditions, reflectors alongside the approaches to seven bridges turn to a blue reflective color when temperatures drop below 32 degrees.

Anti-Icing Routes Map

The following bridges are de-iced:

Benson Hwy (SR-515) crossing Garrison Creek

Col. Joe Jackson Bridge

Lake Meridian Br.

Meeker St. Br.

Riverview Boulevard Br. at Veterans Drive (228th corridor)

Washington Ave. Br.

108th Ave SE crossing SE 277th St.

S. 196th St. from 72nd Ave. S. to 81st Ave. S (196th Corridor)

S. 200th St. Bridge

S. 208th St. Bridge

S. 212th Street crossing the Green River

S. 228th Street grade separation over the Burlington Northern Railroad

S. 277th Street crossing the Green River

Sanding Priorities

Priority Level 1 - Arterial roads on hills - Due to their steep grades, and the fact they are major commuter routes, these roads are sanded first, followed by Priorities 2 and 3:

S. 208th St.

S. 272nd St.

S. 277th St.

Canyon Drive

Military Road

Reiten Road

Reith Road

Veterans Drive

Priority Level 2 - Approaches to major intersections - one lane in each direction on selected major routes and King County/Metro Transit winter storm bus routes as soon as there is a significant lull in the storm.

Priority Level 3 - Residential collector roads - roads that connect to residential areas to arterial roads may take up to 3 days to complete, unless police, fire or medical services request help.

Home and business owners are responsible to clear away snow from all walkways adjoining their property

The city does not have the manpower to remove snow from any sidewalks.

Abandoned Vehicles will be Removed

Abandoned/illegally parked vehicles will be towed immediately when the vehicle is blocking the regularly traveled portion of the roadway and is causing an immediate hazard to other motorists. While these situations are sometimes unavoidable, it's important your vehicle is equipped for travel during snowy/icy conditions before venturing out. Report abandoned vehicles by calling Kent's non-emergency number, 253-852-2121.

Stay Informed

Visit to get the latest information on road closures. This information can be automatically emailed to you as updates are posted.

Tune in to Kent's Traffic Radio at 1610 AM

For general questions, call 253-856-5600  during normal business hours.

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