Tracking snow cleanup in Tri-Cities

Tracking snow cleanup in Tri-Cities
TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- KEPR is rounding up a look at the cities' response to this significant snowstorm.

Plows and graders have been on the roads round the clock since the storm began.

This storm has really taken its toll on streets around the Tri-Cities and on drivers.

Don Sprinkle said, "It bothers me a little bit, but I watch what I'm doing."

He has a minivan with front-wheel drive and all-weather tires, but most still need street crews to clear the way.

They've been working 24/7 since the first bit of snow last week: clearing the roads while keeping a watchful eye on weather reports.

Paul Rhodes with Pasco said, "I'll check it every hour to see how close it's getting and which direction it's actually going to go."

Workers in all three cities changed out the blades on every snow plow at least once a day. It's the heavy-duty road graders that need more maintenance. In most cases, blades were changed every 12 hours.

The road graders really do the trick. They cut down to the asphalt, lifting all the ice and snow. Then crews will go through some of this de-icing material and fill in the cracks to help it melt a lot faster."

Pasco switched to a new snow-busting mix 2 years ago to help cut back on the wear and tear of their equipment. The recent storm gave them their first chance to use it. It's a gritty, sand-like substance that's heat-activated when mixed with liquid de-icer.

Now that most of the streets have been cleared, crews are gearing up for frozen roads, as the melting snow could freeze and cause new, more dangerous driving conditions.

"We usually would go at it with probably just sand," said Rhodes.

Drivers like Don are hoping it doesn't come to that.

He said, "If it gets here we can all wish for a Chinook."

Costs of the storm are not expected until the end of the week. Crews are still totaling up materials used and manpower needed.