(Nov. 24, 2015) As part of its Get Home Safe winter travel initiative, the Portland Bureau of Transportation stood with state and regional transportation agencies at the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Baldock Maintenance Yard to share the latest information the public needs to prepare for the winter travel season.
Working with other agencies, PBOT has been preparing for winter snow and ice conditions. PBOT officials introduced updated snow plow and de-icing routes. The bureau announced that it has expanded its de-icing routes by 40 miles, including 20 additional miles of coverage of Portland Public School bus routes. The bureau also announced it has switched to magnesium chloride as its de-icing agent to clear ice more effectively and efficiently. Magnesium chloride is also used by ODOT, and by using the same chemical, PBOT will be able to purchase more product at a lower cost and share supplies with the state during a storm.
“Thanksgiving is the start of the winter travel season, but PBOT has already been preparing for winter weather for months,” said Maurice Henderson, Deputy Director of PBOT. “Helping Portlanders get home safe is our winter weather mission. We’re ready and we need the public to be ready too. That is why we’re joining our state and regional partners to spread the word about what people who drive, walk and bike can do to be safe during a winter storm. Bad weather is inevitable. Unsafe travel doesn’t have to be.”
Suzanne Kahn, PBOT’s Maintenance Operations Group Manager, highlighted the steps PBOT has taken and will take to prepare for winter weather. “We’ve inspected our equipment, and our crews have trained and reviewed their snow and de-icing routes. When a major storm hits, our crews will work around the clock. PBOT has been preparing for months for winter weather. Now we need Portlanders to partner with us and use our winter weather tips so they can get home safe in the event of a storm.”
The City of Portland’s Bureau of Transportation begins annual preparations for winter weather by conducting a training/refresher course for Maintenance Operations crews on snow plow operations during the last week of October. Crews practice maneuvering dump trucks fitted with snowplows and sand spreaders on a large obstacle course at Sunderland Yard.
Following completion of the course, crew members conduct a full check of the snow vehicle fleet at PBOT’s incident response headquarters at the Kerby Maintenance Offices. They also drive trucks along their assigned snow routes to re-familiarize themselves with the routes and terrain.
When there is a snow, sleet, ice, or other winter weather event, PBOT’s top priority is safety. Transportation crews will work to help Portlanders travel safety and to minimize inconvenience to residents and businesses.
“We appreciate our partnership with PBOT and ODOT as they keep roads passable, which helps us keep transit running and safely connecting riders to their destinations,” said TriMet spokesperson Mary Fetsch. “We do travel slower in wintery conditions, so we want to remind our riders to be prepared for delays and the elements.”
Officials with the Oregon Department of Transportation and Washington State Department of Transportation also spoke at the event. Partners attending included the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management, Portland Aerial Tram and Portland Streetcar Inc.
Photography by Felicity J. Mackay, Portland Bureau of Transportation
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The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is the steward of the City’s transportation system, and a community partner in shaping a livable city. We plan, build, manage and maintain an effective and safe transportation system that provides access and mobility. www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation