wsdot logoDisplays in Wenatchee, Ephrata & Okanogan honor North Central Region employees who died on the job

WENATCHEE – Each year WSDOT holds a ceremony to remember the 60 workers we’ve lost on the job since 1950, honor our workers injured on the job and remind everyone about the need for work zone safety awareness.

Orange barrels

Last April in Olympia, we placed 60 orange traffic barrels on the Capital Campus along Capitol Way near the WSDOT Headquarters and the Capital Dome.

Each barrel represents one of the 60 WSDOT workers killed on the job since 1950.

The display raised awareness about work zone safety and reminded all travelers that our workers put their lives on the line every day.

This year all the regions are placing individual displays across the state starting Monday, April 8.

North Central Region has three outdoor displays in place through Friday, April 12:

  • North Central Region Office, Euclid Ave., Wenatchee
  • Area 2 Maintenance Office, SR 28, Ephrata
  • Area 3 Maintenance Office, US 97, Okanogan

These displays include an orange Work Zone Safety Banner and four barrels to honor the four employees from our region who died on the job:

  • Frank E. Potter, Dec. 1, 1950, North Central Region, Maintenance Laborer. Frank was killed on US 2 when a car skidded into him while trying to slow down in a work zone east of Leavenworth.
  • Ray Wittig, Feb. 4, 1952, North Central Region, maintenance lead technician. Ray was killed on US 2 when he was buried in a snowslide while working in Tumwater Canyon, west of Leavenworth.
  • Ray T. Collie, Feb. 28, 1970, North Central Region, maintenance technician. Ray died a week after being struck by a truck on US 2 just west of Stevens Pass in a work zone as he was setting cones.
  • Gordon Burlingame, July 17, 1992, North Central Region, Avalanche Control Supervisor. “Gordie” was working alone dismantling a 22-foot high radio tower from the roof of a dormitory building at Berne Camp on Stevens Pass when it became unstable and fell on him.

Employees in work zones are husbands, fathers, brothers, wives, mothers, sisters, children and friends – and they all deserve to go home safe at the end of their day. Far too many of them have had close calls, serious injuries and deaths in our work zones. Our workers have had to literally run for their lives and/or jump over guardrails due to speeding, inattentive/distracted drivers, impairment, etc.

By the Numbers

Nationally:

  • There’s a collision in a work zone every 5.4 minutes
  • About 650 people are killed across the country each year in roadway work zones.

Washington State:

  • Washington averages 768 roadway work zone injuries a year.
  • In 2018:
    • 1,498 reported collisions in a work zone or a related back-up.
    • 615 reported injuries.
    • 11 fatal crashes.
  • Travelers are more at risk in work zones than the workers:
  • In 2018:
    • 94% of our work zone fatalities and injuries were drivers, passengers or pedestrians

Driving Distracted through work zones

Distracted/inattentive driving is now the leading cause of work zone crashes on state highways.

Last year 539 distracted/inattentive driver citations were issued for state work zone crashes.

Our crews say they regularly see drivers looking at phones or other devices and blowing past our signs to slow down or stop; putting everyone on the road at risk.

Those who are speeding or driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs and now electronics (E-DUI) also find those citations are even more expensive as traffic fines are doubled in work zones.

  • First E-DUI ticket - $136
  • Second E-DUI ticket in 5 years - $234
  • All E-DUI tickets are reported to insurance companies and can lead to higher rates.
  • Other forms of distracted driving (not involving electronic devices) earn a $99 ticket

Work zone crashes are almost-always preventable.

The top three reasons for work zone collisions in 2018 were:

  • distracted driving/inattention,
  • following too closely,
  • excessive speed.

We Need Help

Our crews work where traffic is speeding literally inches away and we need your help keeping both you and them safe:

  • Slow Down -- drive the posted speeds, they’re there for your safety.
  • Be Kind – our workers are helping to keep you safe and improve the roadways.
  • Pay Attention -- both to workers directing you and surrounding traffic.
  • Stay Calm -- expect delays, leave early or take an alternate route if possible; no meeting or appointment is worth risking someone’s life.

Both the national and our Washington state Work Zone Awareness events take place during April 8-12.

  • The National Work Zone Awareness Week event is April 9, in Washington, DC.
  • WSDOT’s Worker Memorial ceremony is April 10, in Olympia.
  • April 10 is also national “Wear Orange for Safety Day”.

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WSDOT Photo

Lower snowpack, favorable weather could speed this year’s SR 20 opening

DIABLO – Forget about that groundhog. A sure sign of spring in the Pacific Northwest is the announcement that the clearing of 37 miles of State Route 20 connecting the Skagit and Methow valleys began yesterday, Monday, March 25.

Washington State Department of Transportation’s west side maintenance crew began clearing the scenic highway from Colonial Creek to the Ross Lake Overlook at Diablo Gate on Monday. From the east side, crews cleared from Early Winters up 7 miles to Silver Star Gate – and kept going.  By mid-morning Tuesday, March 26, crews cleared one lane for an additional 7 miles to Lone Fir (campground). 

The barricades will remain in place at Early Winters because crews will need to remove some trees that pose a danger to travelers before it’s safe to allow people beyond the gate.

The crews expect to meet between Rainy and Washington passes within four to six weeks. The work can take longer if there is late spring snow or move more quickly if warmer temperatures accelerate snowmelt.

Once crews clear the snow, they will make necessary repairs to the highway, including guardrails, signs, stripes and pavement patches. Only then can the gates open to travelers.  The reopening will provide:

  • Another route between western and eastern Washington for travelers.
  • Access to more miles of US Bike Route 10.
  • Access to hiking trailheads and campgrounds.

During an assessment trip on Monday, March 18, WSDOT avalanche and maintenance staff found 6 feet of snow at Rainy and Washington passes; that’s 4 feet less than last year.

Public access between the closure gates is allowed during the winter months but during the Monday through Thursday clearing process, that space is a legal work zone closed to the public due to the heavy equipment used in the clearing.

In spring 2018, crews needed seven weeks to clear the highway. Clearing started on March 26, and the highway reopened on May 11. The latest opening was in 1974 when the highway reopened on June 14. During the winter of 1976 to 1977, there wasn’t enough snow to ever close the highway.

Follow the 2019 reopening effort on the North Cascades Highway webpage, on the WSDOT Flickr account or through the WSDOT North and WSDOT East Twitter pages.

wsdot logoPlan ahead to avoid fines, prevent road damage

OLYMPIA – With a record-setting winter finally in the history books, the arrival of spring means drivers in Washington have until Sunday, March 31, to remove studded tires.

The Washington State Department of Transportation reminds drivers that state law requires all studded tires to be removed by the end of the day March 31. Starting at midnight on Monday, April 1, drivers with studded tires face a $136 fine.

Studded tires also damage pavement, so removing them promptly after winter has passed helps preserve state roadways. Tire removal services can get crowded near the removal deadline, so please plan accordingly.

WSDOT will not extend the studded tire deadline this year, but crews continue to monitor roads, passes, and forecasts and work to quickly clear any late season snow or ice. Travelers are always advised to “know before you go” by checking road conditions before heading out and staying up-to-date on changes by using WSDOT’s social media and email alert tools or calling the 5-1-1 road conditions report.

Washington and Oregon share the same studded tire removal deadline. Other states may have later dates, but the Washington law applies to all drivers in the state, even visitors. No personal exemptions or waivers are issued.

More information about studded tire regulations in Washington is available online.

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With today’s announcement that Kelly Gregory and Mary Welcome have been selected to serve as artists-in-residence with WSDOT for a year, Washington becomes the first state to embed an artist in a statewide agency.

March 22, 2019 — Artist team Kelly Gregory and Mary Welcome will spend a year working with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) as artists-in-residence to bring a creative approach and help develop new ways to achieve agency goals through a first-of-its-kind program created by ArtPlace America and Transportation for America, a program of Smart Growth America.

Recognized as a tool for pioneering innovative and creative solutions, artist-in-residence programs have been piloted across the nation in municipal governmental agencies, but WSDOT will be the first statewide agency to pilot such a program at the state level. These two artists will help find creative ways to advance WSDOT’s strategic plan goals of inclusion, practical solutions and workforce development.

“The quality and quantity of applications we received for the artist-in-residence position impressed our selection committee, and we’re thrilled to have selected the team of Kelly Gregory and Mary Welcome,” said Ben Stone, Smart Growth America’s director of arts & culture.  “Their collaborative approach, insatiable curiosity, and experience with design, planning, community engagement, and Washington state make them ideal artists-in-residence. I can’t wait to share their work with other states who are in the process of considering setting up their own similar programs.”

“We’re excited to work with Kelly and Mary to find innovative ways to better engage the communities we serve and deliver the best possible transportation projects,” said Roger Millar, WSDOT’s secretary of transportation. “They have experience with both rural and urban communities that will help us foster deeper community engagement, build relationships with underrepresented communities, and bring creativity to design challenges.” 

“This opportunity stood out because it brings together so many of the issues we care about: transportation, infrastructure, community, the rural-urban continuum, and the role of civic service in stewarding the commons,” Gregory and Welcome said. “As artists and activists, we have a history of working in collaboration with non-arts communities and building relational bridges between fun and function. We really believe in the power of artists to bring fresh perspectives and strengthen community connections.”

 About the two artists

Mary Welcome, of Palouse, Washington, is a multidisciplinary cultural worker collaborating with complex and often under-represented rural communities, with projects rooted in community engagement and the development of intersectional programming to address hyper-local issues of equity, cultural advocacy, inclusivity, visibility, and imagination. She collaborates to build cooperative environments that encourage civic engagement, radical education, and community progress.

Kelly Gregory is an itinerant social architect based on the Pacific coast. Her practice is rooted in socially-engaged work: affordable housing projects, exhibitions, reimagining spaces of incarceration, democratic public space, and in-depth community-driven research. Her projects fold current communities and future solutions into functional, beautiful spaces for collaboration and engagement. As a team, with a multi-disciplinary backgrounds in arts, outreach, architecture, and activism, they listen with communities and imagine new solutions in collaboration with neighbors.

For more information about the team, read a Q&A between the artists and Transportation for America on the organization’s website.

 What will these artists do?

The residency, based in Olympia, will run for one year with both artists making rotations as a team through several WSDOT core divisions to gain knowledge on the agency’s operations, priorities and challenges. The artist team will then propose projects to address WSDOT’s overarching goals. Their work may address some or all of the following topics: improving community engagement, supporting alternatives to single occupancy vehicle transport, creating healthier communities and enhancing safety and equity. After four months of rotations, eight months will be devoted to the artists’ project(s) development and production.

The artists will begin the residency in July 2019.

More details about the program

Several organizations collaborated on the artist-in-residence program. ArtPlace America is providing a $125,000 grant for the program, including a $40,000 stipend split between the two artists and $25,000 for a final project(s) the artists and staff develop. Transportation for America will administer both the funds and the overall program, including providing staff and consulting assistance. The State Smart Transportation Initiative (SSTI) will also provide staff support. Both T4A and SSTI are programs of Smart Growth America. WSDOT is not providing funding for the program, but will supply in-kind contributions consisting of work space for the selected artists and staff time for agency workers to collaborate on the new program.

wsdot logoOLYMPIA – A unique partnership between the Washington State Department of Transportation, Sound Transit and Washington state-based credit unions will help underserved businesses participating in WSDOT’s Capacity Building Mentorship program with alternative financing options.

The mentorship program has been operating successfully since July 2018; however, access to capital continues to be a primary barrier to small businesses and those owned by minorities, veterans and women. Verity Credit Union, BECU and Harborstone Credit Union are making a total of $750,000 in loans available in support of Washington’s diverse business community. Business Impact NW will administer the loans to firms participating in the mentorship program.

“Washington state continues to lead the nation in support of its underserved entrepreneurs,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “Ensuring these small businesses have contracting opportunities gives Washington government access to a wider array of business solutions and helps drive innovation. State partnerships with programs such as the Capacity Building Mentorship program supports these initiatives and strengthens our economy.”

“For many small, start-up businesses, getting financing for things such as equipment and other business needs can be a big hurdle, especially for new diverse firms,” said Secretary of Transportation Roger Millar. “We’re pleased that our local credit unions are stepping up to help these protégé businesses as they work to grow their capacity and experience.”

The Capacity Building Mentorship program pairs small, minority-, veteran- and women-owned businesses with successful prime contractors and consultants. These mentors provide technical assistance and business advice to strengthen the protégés’ capacity to work with WSDOT and Sound Transit.  The mentorship program is part of WSDOT’s State Funded Contracts – Diversity Roadmap and one of the highlighted efforts of the Governor’s subcabinet on Business Diversity.

WSDTlogo450The past is an unreliable predictor of the future, especially when it comes to transportation. This is an underlying message in Washington’s updated transportation policy plan, WTP 2040 and Beyond. It’s an online, interactive transportation plan – the first of its kind in the nation – and is available at www.WTP2040andBeyond.com.

During the plan’s creation, the Washington State Transportation Commission engaged diverse representatives to ensure recommendations presented a fair and balanced picture of issues and opportunities across the state. The commission presented the plan to Governor Inslee and the Washington State Legislature this week.

WTP 2040 and Beyond extends the state’s planning horizon out to 2040 and shines a light on the challenges and opportunities facing the statewide transportation system, emphasizing: 1) technology and innovation, 2) system resilience, and 3) paying for transportation.

The vision is unchanged: a transportation system supporting safe and reliable mobility for people and goods. Today, what is different, is the degree of influence that technology and innovation are having on the transportation system and the effect those changes are having on what safe and reliable mobility means.

The commission also heard a growing sense of urgency across the state about the vulnerabilities in Washington’s transportation system, which will undermine essential emergency response and long-term recovery efforts after a major disaster. This includes retrofits for earthquakes and other natural disasters.

Another challenge to the state’s transportation vision is lack of funding, not only for system resiliency, but even for the most basic preservation and maintenance functions. This continues to challenge local and state transportation agencies as they work to keep the system that is already in place running safely and efficiently. Old models of paying for transportation aren’t keeping up with current needs, resulting in local taxpayers picking up an ever-larger share of transportation funding responsibilities in an effort to make ends meet.

“When we look around the state, we recognize the hard choices that communities are facing when it comes to paying for transportation,” said Jerry Litt, chair of the seven-member citizen Transportation Commission. “They’re working to make the best use of existing resources and stretch their transportation dollars further, but it’s an expensive system to maintain. Existing revenues don’t cover all the basic needs, much less pay for the retrofits and upgrades that are needed.”

Secretary of Transportation Roger Millar concurs, adding, “Washington’s citizens have invested about $200 billion in transportation system assets, such as highways, bridges, ferries and facilities, yet we’re spending less than half of what we should to preserve and maintain those assets to keep them in a state of good repair. We need to continue working with our communities to establish and deliver a long-term vision for the transportation system that serves people, goods, and services.”

WTP 2040 and Beyond looks at the effect the three cross-cutting topics have on Washington’s six statewide transportation goals of economic vitality, safety, preservation, mobility, environment and health, and stewardship. The plan highlights where progress can be made, even in times of uncertainty, by taking measured steps and emphasizing partnerships and collaboration.

“We appreciate the emphasis in this plan on partnerships and collaboration,” notes Andrea Weckmueller-Behringer, executive director of the Walla Walla Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization and chair of the state’s MPO-RTPO Coordinating Committee. “Now more than ever we need to work together to tackle these transportation issues. Every one of our regions has partnerships already in place that provide a strong foundation for the more refined work that WTP 2040 and Beyond calls for.”

WTP 2040 and Beyond is a policy plan and does not include project-specific funding recommendations. It does highlight four “tough topics” that are bigger than any one agency or jurisdiction can address, and which have statewide implications. Those topics are: 1) improving travel and trade across the Columbia River between Vancouver and Portland; 2) limitations on SeaTac airport passenger capacity; 3) improving long-distance, inter-regional public transportation; and 4) rebuilding and reinforcing the Puget Sound ferry systems, including state and locally operated ferries.

WTP 2040 and Beyond sets the stage for identifying projects, investment strategies, and responsibilities for tackling critical needs statewide. It also is designed to provide guidance so local and state plans can work in concert to keep Washington moving.

WSDTlogo450OLYMPIA – Several transportation organizations representing cities, counties, ports, and transit will discuss their priorities for the 2019 legislative session with the Transportation Commission at its meeting next week in Olympia. Other meeting highlights include a briefing on two proposed toll projects on interstates in the Portland area, plans for an upcoming review of ferry fares, and a presentation from a company that helps communities understand travel behavior and patterns by using diverse data sets.

The meeting starts at 9 a.m. both Wednesday, Jan. 23, and Thursday, Jan. 24, at the Transportation Building, 310 Maple Park Ave. SE, on the Capitol Campus in Olympia. This meeting is open to the public and persons wishing to speak to the commission may do so during several public comment periods throughout the meeting (see agenda for detail).

Wednesday’s meeting begins with a legislative preview from cities, counties, ports, and transit organizations. The Washington State Department of Transportation will follow this briefing with a presentation on the agency’s legislative and budget priorities. The commission is tasked with providing transportation policy recommendations to the Legislature and Governor, and these briefings keep the commission apprised of emerging priorities for all levels of government with transportation responsibilities.

Also on Wednesday, the commission and Washington State Ferries staff will provide an overview of a proposed ferry fare-adjustment process that will begin this spring. This process includes working with ferry-served communities to help inform the commission’s fare-setting decision making that will occur in July 2019, setting fares for the next two years (2019-2021).   The commission will consider a new approach this year that will seek input from ferry riders and communities earlier in the fare-setting process, before a fare proposal is released.

On Wednesday afternoon, the commission will learn about the Oregon Transportation Commission’s request to the Federal Highway Administration to allow tolling on portions of Interstate 5 and Interstate 205 in the Portland area. The Oregon Department of Transportation will provide a briefing of the process, the tolling options reviewed, what it is proposing, and the next steps. Washington’s commission is interested in learning more about Oregon’s approach to tolling and its potential effect on Washington’s commuters and businesses.

Following this briefing, WSDOT will report on the financial plan for the State Route 520 bridge and report on the first three-years of Interstate 405 express toll lane operations. WSDOT also will brief the commission on the status of completing the express toll lane system on I-405 from Bellevue south to Renton, and the existing State Route 167 high occupancy toll lanes.

Wednesday’s meeting concludes with a report on the results of the summer 2018 survey of the Ferry Riders’ Opinion Group survey panel. Along with on-board interviews, the survey evaluated the performance of the ferry system during the summer months and assessed the attitudes of summer ferry riders, including those who ride for recreational purposes.

On Thursday, UrbanLogiq will brief the commission on how analysis of big data from multiple sources can help communities understand travel behavior and trends. This tool can help cities better manage traffic and improve transportation planning. The commission also will hear about the 2019 legislative and policy initiatives of three state agencies that provide transportation grants to improve mobility in cities, counties, and for freight movement.

For more information about the commission and a complete meeting agenda, visit: www.wstc.wa.gov/

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WSDOT Photo - Railraod Bridge before work

wsdot logoThe barricades east of Othello will be removed at noon Friday

OTHELLO – Work to replace the State Route 26 bridge deck over the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad tracks east of Othello will be complete at noon on Friday, Dec. 14. After barriers are removed by contractor crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation, traffic between Colfax and Vantage will no longer need to use the 32-mile detour for this primary route between western Washington and Washington State University in Pullman.

Between now and Dec.14, the concrete barrier rails will cure for the necessary ten days since they were poured. Specialty crews will finish curbing and guardrail work, paint temporary striping and perform deck pavement grooving before traffic flow is restored at noon.

“Safety for travelers and workers is always WSDOT’s first priority and we appreciate the support and patience from parents and WSU students who were inconvenienced.  We are also grateful for the difficult work in harsh conditions accomplished by Degerstrom crews and BNSF,” said Project Engineer Dan Lewis. “At the same time, the simple detour has proven capable of safely accommodating high traffic volumes without significant delays.”

The deck replacement project began Oct. 15 and was expected to take six weeks. The contractor, N.A. Degerstrom Inc., initially hoped to finish the $1.2 million project by Nov. 21, but the new concrete bridge deck and rails could not be poured and cured following delays due to permitting and weather.

WSDTlogo450Dec. 11-12 meeting takes place in Olympia

OLYMPIA – An updated statewide transportation policy plan, Washington Transportation Plan 2040 and Beyond, ongoing transportation technology work and the first round of findings and recommendations on autonomous vehicle policy needs are on the Washington State Transportation Commission’s agenda next week in Olympia.

The meeting starts 9 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11, and at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12, at the Transportation Building, 310 Maple Park Ave. SE, on the Capitol Campus in Olympia.

On Tuesday morning, the commission will receive a briefing on the Road-Rail Project Final Report, which recommends to the Legislature a statewide project list for separating road and rail traffic in places where they cross at the same level.

Then, the commission will continue its information gathering on transportation technology and autonomous vehicles so that it can provide timely and insightful recommendations to the Legislature in the 2019 session. First, the commission will hear from industry leaders on truck platooning. INRIX, an international traffic data company headquartered in Kirkland, has identified corridors that can most immediately benefit from freight truck platooning, including Interstate 5 in Oregon and Washington as a prime corridor. Platooning is when trucks, operating with autonomous systems, can safety follow each other at a close distance to achieve travel and fuel efficiency and increase safety. 

On Tuesday afternoon, the commission will receive a report on the progress of the Autonomous Vehicle Work Group and its subcommittees. This briefing and discussion will frame the commission’s report to the Legislature and Governor with findings and recommendations about autonomous vehicle policy needs prior to the 2019 session.

Tuesday’s agenda concludes with an update on the Road Usage Charge (RUC) pilot project and a briefing on the Office of Financial Management’s 2018 Transportation Attainment Report. This report measures areas of improvement and challenges to be addressed in the statewide transportation system and operations.

Wednesday morning’s agenda begins with a briefing on proposed changes to broaden the scope of the Commute Trip Reduction Program, a partnership with business to encourage their workers to drive alone less often, reduce carbon emissions and keep the busiest commute routes flowing.

The commission then turns to tolling items, beginning with an update on the tolling options under consideration for the “Gateway Program,” which relies on tolling revenues to complete the SR 509 and SR 167 connections with I-5 near SeaTac and in Pierce County. Following this, there will be an update on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge financial plan, and an overview of SR 520 tolling.

The meeting concludes with commission action to adopt WTP 2040 and Beyond, the long-range statewide transportation plan that establishes policy and fiscal guidance within the context of the six transportation policy goals established in law: promoting economic vitality, mobility, safety, preservation, environmental health and stewardship. This plan is updated every four years and provides guidance for other plans and statewide investments.

The commission also will adopt its 2018 Annual Report, which contains near-term policy and fiscal recommendations for the Legislature and Governor to consider in the 2019 session.

The commission meeting is open to the public and persons wishing to speak to the commission may do so during several public comment periods throughout the two-day meeting.

For more information about the commission and a complete meeting agenda, visit: www.wstc.wa.gov/

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DIABLO – Get the holiday decorations ready – the snowy season has arrived, at least in the mountains. Enough snow has fallen in the North Cascades that avalanche chutes are full and, for traveler safety, the 37-mile seasonal stretch of State Route 20 will close at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 28.

 The Washington State Department of Transportation will swing the North Cascade Highway gates closed at milepost 134 near Diablo and milepost 171 near Mazama. This section will remain closed until sometime in 2019 when the snow stops falling and melts enough to make it safe for maintenance crews to plow the road.

 Winter access

Snowshoers, cross-country skiers, fat-tire bikers or snowmobilers can access the closed area throughout the winter. Parking is available near each closed gate. Anyone choosing to use the area should know the conditions, including avalanche risks, watch the forecast and bring proper gear.

 Later this winter, once there is significant snowfall, adventurers should plan for the gate closures to expand on both ends of the North Cascades Highway. In the Diablo area it will move back to milepost 130, on or after Jan. 2, 2019. The closure in Mazama will move back to milepost 178 once snow is too deep for snow blowers. Extending the closure area when the snow gets heavier and deeper saves money and resources. There will still be parking available at both closure locations.

 Highway history 

WSDOT opened the final section of SR 20/North Cascades Highway in 1972. Each year crews close it to vehicles for the winter due to the snow in the 27 avalanche chutes that loom above the highway. That closure usually happens in November or December. However, in previous years the highway has closed as early as October. The latest closing was Jan. 3, 1990 and in 1976-77 the highway remained open all winter due to the lack of snow.

 Spring 2019 reopening

Avalanche experts will assess conditions in the spring. When it is safe, WSDOT will move snow blowers, plows and loaders to the area to start clearing snow, removing winter debris and replacing damaged guardrail and signs. That clearing process usually takes about eight weeks.