Fewer snowplows on King County roads this winteron October 14, 2013 @ 1:13 pm (Updated: 4:14 pm - 10/14/13 )
The county plans to operate snowplows on only 150 of 1,500 miles of roads in unincorporated parts of the county.
"It's not practical to keep the entire network open both because parts of the network aren't safe even when they're plowed, and financially, it would take extraordinary resources," said King County director of road services Brenda Bauer.
Road service crews have challenges during a weather event that affect the whole region at the same time, said Bauer. In case of snow, the county said it will focus on primary routes and emergency links to hospitals.
King County has 100 drivers and equipment operators available, down from 171 in 2009, and Bauer said that is due to revenue. In particular, the maintenance crew staffing levels are down by between 40 and 50 percent.
Only 253,000 of the county's 1.98 million people live in unincorporated areas. Bauer said those people can expect to be without utilities for longer periods of time. They may also be isolated in their neighborhoods and not be able to get out altogether in the event of an extreme weather situation.
KIRO Radio's Bob Larson and MyNorthwest.com's Alyssa Kleven contributed to this report.
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