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Despite freezing temperatures this week, PBOT crews work to repave a section of road in Northeast Portland.
By Ryan Kost
(Dec. 12, 2013) -- It was about 10 a.m. in Portland’s Kerns neighborhood and any trace of snow from the night before had already faded.
“I put on my wrong boots,” said Jason Lemke, a construction equipment operator with the Portland Bureau of Transportation.
Lemke had woken up to a thin layer of white spread out across the streets Tuesday. But, as it happened, he wouldn’t spend his morning dealing with any of it. Instead, he was running a roller over hot asphalt as a crew repaired a 675 square-foot area of road on NE 16th Avenue just south of NE Irving Street.
A tree’s roots had worked its way through the sidewalk and into the road. “It looked like something out of Dr. Seuss,” said William Clark, a PBOT public works supervisor.
The temperature was around freezing and had created its own set of minor hiccups, but, all in all, work was proceeding as usual.
The Bureau had been prepared for a much different story. Between Friday and Sunday, crews had put 3,450 gallons of deicer on city roads. Then, between 10 p.m. Monday and 6 a.m. Tuesday, they put down another 3,750 gallons. Additional crews were ready in the early morning (as in 4 a.m.) to start clearing roads.
In the end, though, not a single snowplow was needed.
A section of road and sidewalk had to be replaced after a trees roots had grown too large.
PBOT employees who were watching weather conditions early Tuesday morning said little snow fell and what did had a relatively low moisture content so it generally evaporated quickly.
“It’s kinda funny doing it on a cold day like this,” Lemke said about the base repair project on NE 16th Avenue.
The cold weather meant Lemke had to “roll a little different” over the steaming new asphalt to account for the frozen ground below -- all told they’d run through about 45 tons -- but he seemed unfazed. Base repair jobs, for the uninitiated, are focused on spots that are or could become safety hazards.
After he was done checking in at that location, Clark, the supervisor, took a drive out to a home near the foot of Rocky Butte. A water main had broken, leaving the road pockmarked. A temporary layer of asphalt has been laid out, but road crews would have to come replace the whole area.
Generally, Clark goes out first to get a sense of the job and draw out a quick map. He also has to set some guidelines on the road in white spray paint. But after he shook one of the canisters and started drawing on the street, the paint started sputtering.
He went back to his truck for another can and shook it hard. Nothing.
“Paint’s frozen,” Clark said. He grinned slightly. “Never had that happen before.”
(Follow the Portland Bureau of Transportation on Twitter @PBOTInfo)
William Clark, a PBOT public works supervisor, maps out the location of an upcoming road repair project.
(December 10, 2013) – Leaf Day service continues through this month’s cold snap as Portland Bureau of Transportation Leaf Day crews adjust schedules and techniques to adapt to subfreezing temperatures that have left some leaves bonded to the pavement.
Despite December’s cold temperatures, the six-week leaf pickup service will be extended by only one day, to December 17th. Crews that day will serve a portion of the University Park neighborhood in North Portland, or N2 on the Leaf Day map. It is the only neighborhood whose service needed to be rescheduled completely.
In addition, crews are taking a one-two approach to leaf removal in frigid conditions. They are removing the bulk of leaves as scheduled, but will need to return to some areas at a later date when temperatures rise. They can then finish the job of removing debris that now is frozen to the ground.
Typically, two different crews serve each district on the same day. The first crew pushes leaves into giant piles and then loads them into trucks to be composted. A second crew flushes the street with water and sweeps remaining leaves from curb to curb, thoroughly cleaning city streets.
But with below-freezing temperatures, crews are unable to apply water to the streets without turning them into hazardous icy stretches.
“We can’t control the weather but we can adapt to continue needed services and keep streets as clear and safe as possible,” said Suzanne Kahn, Transportation Bureau manager in charge of maintenance and operations. “By dividing the job into two parts, we are removing the bulk of leaves as scheduled and will then provide a cleaning when it is safe and effective.”
Areas where crews have removed leaves but will return at a later date, at no additional charge are:
* Northwest Portland (NW1) – Between W. Burnside and NW Marshall streets, and west of I to NW 21st Avenue.
* Southwest Portland (SW1) – an irregularly shaped area roughly between W. Burnside to Jefferson streets and west of I-405 toSW Vista Avenue.
City crews have nine remaining leaf districts that they are being served through December 17th. They will determine, as needed, which areas may require return service. Residents of each area will receive a letter informing them of the return service The regular schedule may be found at: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/363503
What happens to leaves that are picked up? They are turned to compost for sale to the public. So far, transportation crews have removed 12,172 cubic yards of leaves, or the equivalent of 1,000 dump truck loads, that are now being composted at the City’s Sunderland Recycling Facility inNE Portland.
About Leaf Day: From early November to mid-December, removing leaves from our streets is critical because letting them stay on the street can clog storm drains, flood intersections and make streets slippery. Leaf Day service is provided to 30 designated leaf removal districts in neighborhoods whose high concentration of mature street trees need a higher level of service than the city’s regular street cleaning operation can provide to keep streets clear and safe. Residents in those districts have received letters and brochures notifying them of the service, which typically costs $15 for one service and $30 for two.
Photo: Portland Bureau of Transportation/ Leaf Day service in November, before freezing temperatures visited Portland
(December 6, 2013) - The Portland Bureau of Transportation advises the traveling public that railroad maintenance work will close NE 105th Avenue between NE Sandy Boulevard and NE Marx Street on Monday, December 9, 2013 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
A detour will be in effect during those times. Southbound traffic will be directed east on NE Marx Street to NE 112th Avenue and south on NE 112th Avenue to NE Sandy Blvd. Northbound traffic will be directed east on NE Sandy Blvd. to NE 112th Avenue, north on NE 112th Avenue to NE Marx Street, west on NE Marx St to NE 105th Avenue.
Pedestrian and bike traffic should follow the same detours as vehicle traffic. Local access to businesses and residences will be maintained.
The closure is necessary for Union Pacific Railroad crews to perform track maintenance at the railroad crossing.
The public is advised to travel cautiously in the work zone and to observe detours. Travelers are advised to use alternate routes if possible. Railroad work is dependent on weather and the schedule may change.
“We’re ready for winter. Are you ready?”
(December 6, 2013) The Portland area’s three major transportation agencies are prepared for snow and ice, and advised the public Friday on the best ways to prepare for winter conditions.
The Oregon Department of Transportation, the Portland Bureau of Transportation and TriMet have been coordinating their efforts and planning for winter conditions since October. Maintenance managers have met with meteorologists to discuss the weather outlook for the season. The three agencies also monitor weather conditions around the clock, check trouble spots and adjust operations as conditions warrant.
During a Friday news conference at ODOT’s Sylvan maintenance yard, Ted Miller, ODOT’s Portland area maintenance and operations manager, said motorists need to be extra careful when weather deteriorates. Plows and de-icing trucks, he said, need plenty of room to get the job done. So give them a wide berth when you see them on the road. Also, he said, motorists should keep their cars in top condition and remember that patches of ice may remain on the roads even after deicer is applied.
“We’re ready to our job and we’re confident that the public is ready to do their job as well,” Miller said. “That means driving carefully, allowing plenty of room to stop and watching out for the other guy. No one wants to be the driver who causes the fender bender that traps everyone in a traffic jam.”
Suzanne Kahn, maintenance group manager for the city’s transportation bureau, said the city applies a liquid deicer, prioritizing known hazard areas, such as bridges and overpasses and the city’s busiest streets and transit routes. People who live or work in hilly areas need to buy snow chains, practice using them and be ready to use them at any time this winter. Property owners are responsible for clearing sidewalks along their homes or businesses to ensure safe passage for the public.
“We encourage people to use public transit during storm events, so people should study the bus and light rail routes where you live and know ahead of time if there’s a snow route that may be in effect,” Kahn said. “When walking and biking, it’s especially important to wear high-visibility clothing. Pedestrians should always cross at an intersection or a marked crosswalk. Bicyclists should be sure to brake early and avoid painted and steel road surfaces.”
TriMet’s Field Operations Manager Jay Jackson said that when winter weather is in the forecast, “We never close. We work around the clock to keep our buses and trains moving. Our partners at ODOT and the City are critical to keeping the roads passable for our vehicles.”
Jackson added that riders should be prepared for delays and dress warmly, as buses travel at slower speeds during a winter storm. TriMet now has more than 200 buses with automatic drop down chains to provide traction when needed at the press of a button, similar to school buses. This is in addition to regular chains that can be added to buses for traction.
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Portland Bureau of Transportation Snow and Ice resources https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/47307
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The Friday news briefing looks at how local transportation agencies prepare for winter
Local transportation agencies will hold a news briefing at ODOT’s Sylvan maintenance yard Friday morning to discuss preparations for winter weather and what the public needs to do when traveling in wintery conditions.
Representatives from the Oregon Department of Transportation, the Portland Bureau of Transportation and TriMet will be on hand to discuss what the agencies do to keep people moving safely when winter weather strikes.
Ted Miller, ODOT’s regional maintenance and operations manager, will host the event.
When: 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 6, 2013.
What: Briefing for the news media on winter preparedness.
Where: ODOT’s Sylvan maintenance yard, 6000 S.W. Raab Road, immediately southwest of the Scholls Ferry Road intersection with U.S. 26.
Visuals: In addition to the news conference, ODOT’s heavy snow removal equipment will be on site. Following the news conference, an ODOT maintenance worker will demonstrate the proper way to install tire chains on a passenger vehicle.