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Road crews ready for wintry blasts

With Mother Nature expected to unleash the first of what could be many furies of icy weather this week, Bremerton and Kitsap County road crews are well-prepared for whatever comes their way.

Even if schools close, major city and county roads should remain drivable as crews brave the harsh elements to keep things moving countywide.

At the first sign of anticipated winter precipitation, county crews implement the county's snow and ice control plan, Kitsap County Public Works Spokesman Doug Bear said.

"Our first priority is major roads and arterials and once those are clear, we move on to feeder roads," Bear said.

Among the first priorities in the Central Kitsap area are Brownsville Highway, Seabeck Highway, Silverdale Way, Bucklin Hill Road, Fairgrounds Road and Anderson Hill Road, according to the map of priority roads on the county's Web site.

Roads such as Foster Road, Mountain View Road and Pioneer Road are secondary priorities for crews, according to the map.

Sunday's light dusting of snow allowed county crews to use the newest tool in their arsenal to combat icy road conditions, Bear said of the salt-brine solution, which was put on roads ahead of the snow.

"It keeps roads from getting icy and fortunately we had a dry period ahead of the snow," Bear said, noting the solution is effective to temperatures of 23 degrees and above and requires relatively dry pavement for it to be fully effective.

In Bremerton, city streets supervisor Bob Tulp said when the wintery precipitation arrives, the department works two 12-hour shifts to keep the roads clear.

Unlike the county, which uses a salt-brine solution, the city relies on a sand mixture to keep the roads safe for travel during icy conditions, Tulp said.

City crews are well-aware of the usual trouble spots, which include "areas of hills, areas shaded from the sun and areas where the wind blows across the road," he said.

Bremerton police officers, who are on duty 24 hours a day, also provide reports about unanticipated icy spots to road crews as well, he said.

"They give us an extra set of eyes," he added.

City crews rely on a number of reliable sources for reports about impending icy weather and as soon as those reports come in, crews prepare to take action, he said.

The National Weather Service is predicting a chance of snow through Monday night in the Silverdale area, before rain returns on Tuesday. The forecast is much the same for Bremerton with snow taken out of the picture by Tuesday.

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