While Western Washington's state highways have mostly returned to normal from the two-week winter blast, the snow just hasn't stopped in Eastern Washington. Close to 60 inches has fallen in the Spokane area, and most of it has not melted.
WSDOT regularly shifts resources around areas and regions. A good weather window in Western Washington allowed us to shift plows to Eastern Region for the next five days. We are shifting five plow trucks and 10 drivers from Olympic Region (two from Aberdeen and three from Tacoma) to Eastern Region to help with the snow removal efforts over there. The Olympic Region crews will be working for Eastern Region Area 1 Superintendent Gary Clemenson in Spokane. Two trucks left from Tumwater last night for the Spokane area. Three more left this morning from Tacoma.
On one level, moving trucks and drivers from one location to another around the state seems like it should be relatively straightforward. However, there are lots of details necessary to pull it off successfully. Just a few include outfitting the trucks, getting the drivers, changing out plow bits, adjusting the radio frequency, working out the details of who would meet them and where they would go once they got to Spokane. There were a host of other details.
Here are some photos of crews switching out the OR's rubber plow bits for steel bits to use in Eastern Region. A quick tidbit...we use rubber plow bits in most parts of Western Washington to protect raised pavement markers. They use recessed pavement markers in most parts of Eastern Washington.