Crews gird for snow removal before flakes start to fall

November 27, 2012

The mercury dips a little lower as November turns to December, winter starts in mere weeks, and the agencies responsible for ensuring roads remain passable in ice and snow readied removal plans for the months ahead.

Issaquah, King County and the state prepare detailed ice and snow response plans long before the flakes start to fall. The agencies face challenges in Issaquah and the surrounding area due to steep terrain, narrow roads and limited funding.

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King County executive proposes $20 fee to fund roads

October 9, 2012

Unincorporated King County residents could pay a $20 vehicle license fee next year to shore up road maintenance in rural areas.

Dow Constantine

King County Executive Dow Constantine recommended the fee in the proposed 2013 budget. The fee is projected to raise $4.5 million to fund road projects in unincorporated areas, such as Klahanie, May Valley and Preston in the Issaquah area.

The alternative could mean reduced maintenance to correct problems, such as potholes, and a slower response during snow and ice storms.

Still, county leaders need about $50 million to $65 million per year to maintain the 1,500-mile road network in unincorporated King County.

“The fee won’t be enough, not by a long shot. But it’s the only remaining authority left to counties by the Legislature,” Constantine said in a Sept. 24 budget address to the King County Council. “The system for funding local transportation in Washington state is broken. Everybody knows it. We have a 1930s revenue system to fund 21st century transportation needs.”

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Hearing offers customers a chance to respond to utilities’ January storm efforts

March 15, 2012

NEW — 11:15 a.m. March 15, 2012

Utility customers from Issaquah and other areas impacted during the January storms can offer input on energy and telephone companies’ responses at a public hearing in Olympia.

People affected by the snowstorm and subsequent ice storm can speak at the state Utilities and Transportation Commission’s public hearing Monday. The commission meets at 9:30 a.m. Monday at 1300 S. Evergreen Park Drive S.W., Olympia.

Starting at 9:30 a.m., Puget Sound Energy representatives plan to discuss electricity-related problems encountered during the storms. Then, at 10:30 a.m., regional cable and telephone companies plan to discuss performance during the storms. The public comment portion starts at 11:15 a.m.

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Snow prompts Issaquah School District to delay classes

March 13, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. March 13, 2012

Snow blanketed the Issaquah area overnight and led the Issaquah School District to operate on a two-hour delay Tuesday morning.

Because of the delay, district officials canceled all before-school activities, including morning school-age care, Headstart, morning and afternoon preschool, morning and afternoon kindergarten, and out-of-district transportation.

In addition, full-day kindergarten starts two hours late due to the snow.

Spots in the Issaquah area and other areas in the Cascade foothills received several inches of snow overnight. Motorists should exercise caution on state Route 18 across the Tiger Mountain summit.

National Weather Service forecasters in Seattle said snow is not expected to accumulate throughout the morning. The temperature is expected to climb into the mid-40s and the snow level is expected to rise to about 1,000 feet.

Hazardous conditions impacted response to January storms

March 6, 2012

The battle against the elements created dangerous conditions for city crews during a snowstorm and a rare ice storm in January, officials said in a recent update on response to the storms.

City crews scrambled to keep pace as the storms battered Issaquah and the region. Sometimes, limbs crashed onto city streets mere moments after a snowplow scraped snow and ice from the surface.

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President declares King County a disaster area for January storms

March 5, 2012

NEW — 3:40 p.m. March 5, 2012

Federal aid is available to Issaquah and other cities impacted during the January storms, because President Barack Obama declared King County a disaster area Monday.

The cost of storm response and cleanup reached $530,000 for city government. City officials said about $383,000 in costs related to the storms could be eligible for reimbursement through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Gov. Chris Gregoire asked Obama late last month to declare a federal disaster area in King County and 10 other Washington counties for damages and response costs from January storms.

Local governments could defray 75 percent of eligible disaster-related costs — such as debris removal — by using FEMA public assistance grants.

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Hazardous conditions impacted response to January storms

March 5, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. March 5, 2012

The battle against the elements created dangerous conditions for city crews during a snowstorm and a rare ice storm in January, officials said in a recent update on response to the storms.

City crews scrambled to keep pace as the storms battered Issaquah and the region. Sometimes, limbs crashed onto city streets mere moments after a snowplow scraped snow and ice from the surface.

“You’d clear a road, you’d come back down and you’d have to clear your way back out the same road,” Bret Heath, city Public Works Operations and emergency management director, said in a Feb. 28 briefing to the City Council. “Or you’d clear a road and you’d get a call from somebody else in the snowplow that said, ‘I thought you cleared this road.’ The answer is, well, we did. We were just there, but those trees were coming down so fast and frequent that it was impossible for awhile to stay on top of that.”

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State Route 18 on Tiger Mountain to close for guardrail repair

March 1, 2012

NEW — 11 a.m. March 1, 2012

Motorists should prepare for closures on state Route 18 across Tiger Mountain on Saturday, as crews continue the repair effort from the January storms.

Crews plan to close westbound state Route 18 between Interstate 90 and the Tiger Mountain summit at 6 a.m. to rip out and replace damaged guardrail. The roadway should reopen at 2:30 p.m.

Eastbound state Route 18 is scheduled to remain open for motorists headed east from the Issaquah area to Interstate 90 or the trailhead and parking area at the Tiger Mountain State Forest summit.

The state Department of Transportation recommended for westbound motorists to use interstates 5 and 405, plus other local routes, to reached Auburn, Maple Valley and Renton.

The guardrail needs to be replaced and support posts need to be installed after a tractor-trailer damaged the guardrail during the January snowstorm.

Crews must completely close the westbound highway, because workers cannot safely alternate traffic at the location due to the narrow roadway and the difficulty of tractor-trailers stopping on the steep grade.

Governor asks president to declare King County as disaster area

February 28, 2012

Gov. Chris Gregoire asked President Barack Obama on Feb. 24 to declare a federal disaster area in King County and 10 other Washington counties for damages and response costs from January storms.

If the declaration is approved, Issaquah and other governments could defray 75 percent of eligible disaster-related costs — such as debris removal — by using Federal Emergency Management Agency public assistance grants.

The cost of storm response and cleanup reached $530,000 for Issaquah municipal government. Officials used the dollars to put snowplows on Issaquah streets in 24-hour stretches, clear fallen trees and haul off debris.

If a disaster declaration occurs, city officials said about $383,000 in costs related to the storms could be eligible for reimbursement through FEMA.

Preliminary state and federal damage assessments estimated $32.3 million in potential eligible damage across the state caused by snow, freezing rain, power outages, rain, fallen trees and limbs, avalanches, falling ice, landslides and storm debris.

Gregoire proclaimed a winter storm emergency in the state Jan. 18.

Gov. Chris Gregoire asks president to declare King County as disaster area

February 24, 2012

NEW — 3:15 p.m. Feb. 24, 2012

Gov. Chris Gregoire asked President Barack Obama on Friday to declare a federal disaster area in King County and 10 other Washington counties for damages and response costs from January storms.

If the declaration is approved, Issaquah and other governments could defray 75 percent of eligible disaster-related costs — such as debris removal — by using Federal Emergency Management Agency public assistance grants.

The cost of storm response and cleanup reached $530,000 for Issaquah municipal government. Officials used the dollars to put snowplows on Issaquah streets in 24-hour stretches, clear fallen trees and haul off debris.

If a disaster declaration occurs, city officials said about $383,000 in costs related to the storms could be eligible for reimbursement through FEMA.

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