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Kennewick City Council



Snow & Ice - The Winter Challenge

Living in Kennewick, we all know how unpredictable our weather can be. We have experienced winters (normally months of November, December, January and February) with no snow accumulation to winters with over fifty-inches of measurable snow. With frosty winter temperatures, snow and ice can be challenging for residents and the City crews to control.

With a population of over 76,000 and over 670 lane miles of streets, the City continues to strive to provide an acceptable level of snow and ice control.

Snow Removal from the Streets:

  • The City of Kennewick is devoted to keeping our streets as safe as possible, within a constrained budget. Prior to a major snow or freezing rain event, the City will attempt to spread salt and deicing material on all major arterial streets. Other priority locations include streets near schools, hospitals and hills.
  • When snow accumulations reach four inches, the City of Kennewick will plow the major arterial streets, and the streets near schools, hospitals, traffic signals, roundabouts and hills.
  • Depending on the severity of the storm, it may take several hours to several days or weeks for roadways to return to near normal. In the aftermath of the storm, be patient, self-sufficient and travel only if it's absolutely necessary.
  • During a major snow event, the City of Kennewick may also utilize contract labor to assist in responding to snow and ice control.

Homeowner/Business Owners are Responsible for Cleaning Their Sidewalks:

  • Removal of snow from sidewalks along your home and business is a responsibility of all citizens. The best time to shovel snow is immediately after it falls and before ice can begin to form. Make sure you shovel snow into your yard and not the street.
  • After you clear the sidewalk of snow, you may choose to apply an ice-melting substance. The City recommends use of Calcium Chloride, (sometimes called "hot melt") rather than Sodium Chloride (Rock Salt) because it is less damaging to sidewalks and plants. Also, it works at a much lower temperature, so it is more effective in freezing conditions.
  • If your home or business is at a corner, please remove the snow from the sidewalk ramps so children and other pedestrians can cross the street.
  • Dig out fire hydrants for your and your neighbors' safety.
  • If your neighbors are elderly, disabled or have other special conditions that makes snow removal hazardous, please be a good neighbor and help clean the snow and ice for them.
  • If you can afford one, buy a snow blower and help your neighbors. Make sure you blow the snow into your yard and not the street.

Please Don't Take it Personally:

  • Equipment operators may work 12 hours or more in a shift and appreciate courteous and friendly drivers and pedestrians. Please help them help you.
  • Pushing snow into a driveway opening or along a car parked on the street is often unavoidable as City crews work to keep streets passable.
  • Don't throw snow from your sidewalk or driveway into the street - it's against the law.
  • To avoid having snow covering your driveway from the City plows, shovel your snow to the right of your driveway into your yard and not into the street.
  • If your neighbors are elderly, disabled or have other special conditions that makes snow removal hazardous, please be a good neighbor and help clean the snow and ice for them.

Other Snow Tips for Residents:

  • Put Safety First and drive only if necessary. Dress warmly and be prepared for travel delays. Make sure you carry blankets, flashlights, water and other emergency provisions.
  • Try to keep your vehicle off the street. If you must park on the street, park as close to the curb as possible.
  • Don't follow a snowplow or sanding truck too closely. They may stop suddenly or spray sand, rocks or other material.
  • Do not sled on streets or sidewalks.
  • Before traveling, pay close attention to weather forecasts and, if possible, please stay off roads and sidewalks when snow, sleet or freezing rain is forecast.
  • For storm information concerning school and business delays or closing please tune in to local television or radio stations.

Take it Slow:

Protect yourself and your passengers. Allow extra time to reach your destination during inclement weather. Do not be the driver who has an accident.

  • Drive for conditions - slower speeds, slower acceleration, slower steering and slower braking in winter conditions.
  • Use your headlights.
  • Don't use cruise control.
  • Four and all-wheel drive vehicles will not stop or steer better in icy conditions.
  • Leave extra room between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. And remember, larger vehicles and big trucks take longer to stop.
  • Slow down when approaching intersections, hills, bridges or shady spots.
  • Brush the snow off your vehicle, especially your lights,before you drive. It makes you more visible; plus snow and ice flying off a vehicle can be dangerous to other drivers. Every year several drivers get in vehicle crashes because they fail to properly clear their windows of ice.
  • If you find yourself behind a snowplow, stay behind it until it is safe to pass. Remember that a snowplow driver has a limited field of vision. Stay back (15 car lengths) until you're sure it is safe to pass or until the plow pulls off the road.

Prepare Your Vehicle for Winter:

If you absolutely have to travel, making sure the car is prepared in advanced may avoid unnecessary delays. Make an annual checklist to review in October with the following items:

  • Tune-Up
  • Brakes
  • Antifreeze
  • Belts, hoses, filters and oil.
  • Battery
  • Any leaks
  • Lights
  • Windshield wipers
  • Windshield washer fluid
  • Fuel level
  • Heater/defroster function
  • Ice scraper
  • Blankets
  • Bag of sand or kitty litter
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Proper tires and inflation
  • Chains (Talk to your local tire dealer about which chains are the best fit for your vehicle and practice installing them)

City of Kennewick Snow and Ice Management Policy

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