Street crews must wait for 3 inches to pill up before plowing - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Street crews must wait for 3 inches to pill up before plowing

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YAKIMA, Wash.-- Yakima City street crews started their plowing operation at around 11am Wednesday morning. But some were wondering why the plowing was started earlier than that.

They had to plow about 95 miles of main streets within the city, a job that city officials say takes a long time.

"It takes 10-12 hours to plow the city arterials and collector arterials," said Wayne Deason, streets maintenance supervisor.

Streets and Traffic Manager Joe Rosenlund says his office got quite a few phone calls Wednesday morning, angry people wondering why they were letting the snow pile up.

He says it's city policy to wait until 3 inches of snow have collected.

"Now that we've gone 3 inches plus, our crews will be out, starting their plowing," said Rosenlund.

There are 15 city run plowing trucks out on the roads and five other contractors that are on call if more snow falls.

"Once we have to start plowing residential streets, which per policy is when we get over 6 inches of snow... We'll call contractors in," said Rosenlund.

All that work doesn't come cheap either. They say a storm like this can run the city anywhere from $40,000 to $80,000, a big strain on their $400,000 budget, that has to last until next winter. 

"If we have a lot of snow in the late winter, early spring, it has a big impact. We might not have the money in November/December within our budget," said Rosenlund.

Officials want to tell drivers not to follow plows to close, some spread salt and gravel behind them so drivers should watch out.