Snow and Ice Control

Snowplows header picture

Jefferson County’s Road Maintenance Division of the Public Works Department provides snow and ice control for all county roads. This primarily takes three forms:Two snow-plow trucks plowing Brinnon roads at night

Anti-icing: Pre-treatment of roads prior to expected freezing conditions to prevent ice formation. On an ongoing basis during periods of freezing weather, Road Maintenance crews apply a light application of rock salt, coated with liquid de-icing solution, to the more heavily traveled arterials and areas where roadway ice frequently forms and causes a significant hazard. Anti-icing treatment helps to prevent the formation of frost and black ice on the road and, in the case of snowfall, prevents the snow from bonding to the road surface when it is packed down by traffic.

The liquid de-icer used to pre-wet the rock salt helps us spread as little salt as possible, because it increases the melting efficacy of the rock salt and helps each piece of salt stick to the road until it dissolves. Liquid is currently available to the Hadlock and Quilcene crews but is not yet available to the Hoh Shop crew for maintenance on the West End. Roads typically treated with this anti-icing are indicated on the route map below.

Snow removal: Plowing snow to open the road way. Road Maintenance crews plow snow after snowfall concludes and sometimes, depending on the expected amount and duration of snowfall, during the snowfall.

De-icing and sanding: When falling rain or snow plowing reduce the effectiveness of anti-icing efforts, it becomes necessary to treat ice or packed snow that has already formed on the road. Our primary goal at that point becomes enhancing traction for tires on the ice or packed snow, and this is generally accomplished by spreading sand or a blend of sand and rock salt. The material we spread may be treated with liquid de-icing solution to kick-start the melting process and to ensure that most of the granular material sticks to the road surface.

Snow and Ice Control Routes

The map above highlights the designated snow routes on the east side of Jefferson County. Snow and ice control is prioritized here as follows:

Priority 1 – Major arterial routes (highlighted in red on the map above)

Priority 2 –  Secondary and collector arterials along with hillside residential areas (highlighted in blue) 

Non-Priority – Other rural access roads and residential streets (not highlighted)

Anti-icing –  Portions of the road network that are treated with anti-icing materials in anticipation of freezing conditions (dashed lines) to minimize ice; secondary anti-icing routes are covered only in extreme situations or following a snow event

State Highways – Not maintained by Jefferson County (highlighted in green)

The snowplow routes in Jefferson County are set according to priorities outlined in our policy. The Priority 1 routes designated in red are our highest priority.  These are Major Collectors and are important because they link communities and are critical to effective emergency response. We focus on Priority 1 roads until they are plowed, treated with salt or sand and open for travel. In case of an ongoing storm, we might have to stay on Priority 1 roads for an extended period of time just to make travel between communities and emergency response possible.  

Once our Priority 1 roads are in good condition, we move to the Priority 2 roads designated in blue. Priority 2 roads connect some communities to each other and to Priority 1 roads. 

Once Priority 1 and 2 plow routes are done and traffic can flow throughout the County, we move into the residential areas if needed. Although we understand these non-priority roads are extremely important to those who live on them, they are of lesser importance to the entire County and are therefore last on the priority list. Treatment of these roads is not often performed on night and weekend overtime, so it tends to be done over multiple days after a snow event with a focus on areas most impacted by the event.

Budget and Equipment  

The Road Division budgets for a “normal” winter. We have plows, sanders, sand and supplies to cover the snowfall of a regular winter. It is not possible or fiscally responsible to budget for an emergency, having no real idea what that might be. When we experience an extremely heavy snowfall with extended effects, we respond as quickly and efficiently as possible, working around the clock when necessary.

Hadlock plow trucks prepared for snow

Common Questions and Concerns  

  • When the roads are plowed the snow must be plowed completely to the curb line to ensure mail delivery and to ensure that water can reach drains. Trucks providing traction sand usually follow plowing.
  • Snow plows do not plow snow to the center of cul-de-sacs, because that can block access by emergency-response vehicles.
  • Jefferson County cannot skip over driveway entrances when plowing a road. A continuous berm of snow is left along all roads and across driveways, private roads and sidewalks. Road Maintenance crews cannot provide equipment or labor to clear this snow from driveways, private roads or sidewalks.
  • The granular material spread to improve traction is standard sand. It is applied fairly heavily, and much of it is kicked to the shoulder and ditch by passing traffic.
  • The granular material used in anti-icing and de-icing activities is sodium chloride rock salt. Its application rate is controlled by a computer in each truck to approximately 1 gram of salt per square foot.
  • The liquid de-icing material used is primarily calcium chloride mixed with small amounts of potassium chloride, sodium chloride and corrosion inhibitors. Its application rate is computer-controlled to spread about 0.13 grams of liquid per square foot. A Safety Data Sheet is available here.
  • Vehicles parked on the roadway may impair our ability to plow the road at all. Please remove parked vehicles from the road during a snow event.
  • State law prohibits the maintenance or plowing of private roads by County forces.

Report a Problem

Please try to be patient. We will get to you as soon as possible, regardless of the size of the storm, working our way systematically down the priority list and from the heaviest accumulations to the lightest. We will not pull a truck from this systematic process to clear roads upon request.

However, if you believe your road is in needed of urgent attention, please feel free to report it. Contact the Road Maintenance Office at (360)385-0890 or complete the online problem report by clicking here.

If this is an after-hours issue that needs to be immediately addressed, please report it to Jeffcom at (360)344-9779 extension 0.