• Dec 27, 2008
Not long ago, Washington state's Department of Ecology was making noises about not letting people wash their cars at home because "what goes on the street goes into the creek." Now the state is on the opposing side of Seattle's efforts not to let harmful chemicals wash into the freshwater streams feeding into Puget Sound.
Seattle is not using salt to clear the roads because it doesn't want the salt flowing into waterways. As well, the city's snow plows have rubber-edge blades that can clear snow, but can't get the ice off the road. Seattle's DOT cheif says the city is trying to "create a hard-packed surface" of snow. It will then lay sand down over the hardpack in order to offer enough traction to cars, and employ a soy-based de-icer only good for temps below 32 degrees.

The hitch: only 4-wheel-drive and front-wheel-drive cars with chains have any traction. That means that even the police can't drive on many roads. If the police make a call to a location on a hill, they park at the bottom and walk up the hill. As well, the police are having to respond to literally hundreds of collisions and disabled vehicles.

The state DOT has taken a much different tack: it is using sand, salt, metal-edged plows, and chemical de-icer in its battle with the elements. Seattle is now experimenting with a "silver bullet" concoction that is saltwater from a cheese factory, calcium chloride, and de-sugared molasses.

[Source: Seattle Times]


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  • 63 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Is there a reason cops don't have chains on their wheels? Or all wheel drive squad cars?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Hahahahahahahaha, that was funny
      • 6 Years Ago
      The productivity and disruption to business over the past weeks has
      far outweighed the costs of adding a few more plows and keeping
      side-streets clear. I needed chains on a Subaru (mostly 'cos descents
      were impossible without them on the ice!)

      Studded tyres do more damage to the roads than they are worth and
      should be banned. A set of Blizzacs would do far better!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Why not use winter tyres like they do in northern Europe. By law, you must have winter tyres fitted to your car by November 1st through till March 31st.... no need for salt or other crap on the roads.
        • 6 Years Ago
        They need to be as aggressive and modernized as Salt Lake City. I lived in Seattle, Salt Lake and Portland. Salt lake city kicks a$$ over the others. However deep the snow may be, the roads are always clear.

        I am so angry this year over this with ODOT and WDOT!!!!

        Washington and Oregon (Meaning Seattle area and Portland area ) panics when it snows and then like an ostrich shove their heads in the sand( SNOW). It's just plain madding!!!!!!!!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Studded winter tires. Quit whining!
      • 6 Years Ago
      sounds like another automotive industry assistance package

      technically speaking:

      more wrecks = more new car purchases
      • 6 Years Ago
      Why they don't think to use winter tire ?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Winter tires are only good to a certain point. As the incline increases so does the tendency for one to go backwards.

      Makes we want to buy an F-650 and move to Seattle...lol

      I'm surprised the police don't have Subaru's or any other AWD vehicles there. Even here in SW Michigan our P.D. has 5 Expeditions and some leftover Tahoe's. Then again, those are more expensive than the CVPI's.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I can attest that the same thing is going on in Portland Oregon. Nothing was being plowed here for days! I headed south from Portland this past Tuesday and the freeway (I-5) was nothing but slush that had frozen with tire tracks and grooves everywhere. Deep ruts in this mess being 8 to 10 inches deep with ice of course at the bottom. Chains had turned the road into a washboard surface.. Driving down the road felt like landing on a bombed runway.

      Lifted trucks with no chains were attempting to change lanes, spun out and collided into others. I saw several semis with chains spinning out on completely flat surfaces. There was hardly any gravel and no sand. No de-icer and of course, no salt. In fact, I didn't see any sort of utility truck, police car or plow for nearly 40 miles.

      Being from New England originally, I drove at a sane 20 mph in the right lane and these idiots were doing FIFTY or more down the road and had the moxie to honk at me.

      Well I made it safely to my destination and fortunately my car didn't rattle after the jarring i went through.

      ODOT and whatever Portland authorities in charge of the debacle should be charged with something serious..

      What a complete mess. Being a history geek, all I could think of was the German Army on its way to Moscow in the winter..
      • 6 Years Ago
      Sheer lunacy. I agree, in spades, with MikeW.
      • 6 Years Ago
      It would be a disaster if all that salt water ended up in the pacific, what knuckleheads!
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is the result of the hordes of Californians that have been infiltrating my beloved state. I got around juuuuuuuuust fine. Learn to drive, because it's not the responsibility of a retarded mayor to keep you from killing yourself as the result of being a dumbass. Could there have been more aggressive plowing? Sure, but the world hasn't ended, some people are annoyed, the mayor is still retarded, now move on with life
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