When weather is at its worst, our statewide Winter Level of Service Plan guides us in prioritizing where to send equipment and resources. This year with costs increasing from inflation and fuels tax revenues trending down, we are scaling back maintenance and services around the state.
These cuts will affect drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and freight haulers. Here's what you are likely to see that could affect winter driving:
- You'll notice more snow and ice build-up, more chain requirements, longer delays and fewer open roads.
- You'll see more potholes and ruts on the road.
- You'll spend more time waiting for roads to re-open after a crash, and fewer ODOT responders on the road.
What can drivers do? This year it's more important than ever to plan ahead:
- Stay home during ice and snow storms if you can.
- Leave early to get ahead of storms.
- Carry chains and know how to use them.
- Have food, water, medicine and other emergency supplies in your car.
- Keep your cell phone charged.
- Have a full tank of gas or a full charge on your electric vehicle.
- Visit TripCheck.com for up-to-the-minute road conditions and more information on Oregon's chain law requirements.
Level of service
Our Winter Level of Service Plan establishes anti-icing/de-icing, sanding and plowing priorities for state highways. Priorities are based on safety, the amount of traffic the highways typically carry, and the anticipated impact to commerce and industry.
There are five Statewide Levels of Service. Highways tagged for high-volume priority service are plowed first; medium and low-volume highways are handled as soon as possible thereafter.
When winter weather hits, we'll be on the job. Our goal is to keep roads passable, not completely free of ice and snow. During a one day storm, crews may use approximately 600 trucks full of sand and 150 trucks of de-icer.
Clean up operations begin as bad weather clears. It normally takes 4-8 weeks to remove all the sanding material that was placed on the road.
Sand provides significantly improved traction on the roads in both snow and ice. But it spreads everywhere and can be found along the road surfaces and shoulders once the snow and ice are gone.
Rock chips are a particular hazard for windshields and bicyclists. We send our ODOT crews out for cleanup as soon as possible, particularly in the lower elevations. In the higher elevations, crews often wait until spring to clean up the sand as we don’t want to clean sand up only to apply a new layer when a new storm arrives soon after.
Practices may vary
Our winter maintenance practices may not reflect the practices used on county or city roadways. Contact your city or county for that information.