OLYMPIA – The next time snow or ice covers roadways in the Puget Sound area, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and Washington State Patrol (WSP) will employ new tactics and strategies to keep traffic moving.
Two, new Joint Response Teams, coupling a WSDOT snowplow and a WSP patrol car, will be deployed to priority collisions involving buses, semi-trucks or other large vehicles. The teams will work in the King County area and if the concept proves useful, it may be expanded to other areas of the state.
Among many accidents during last week’s snow, ice and sub-freezing temperatures, a series of collisions involving semis and buses on I-5 in Tukwila blocked all southbound lanes, stalling traffic for hours. The problem was compounded by deteriorating road conditions, the absence of passable shoulders, the inability of large sanding rigs to get through the traffic, and a shortage of Class C tow trucks capable of moving buses and semis.