Here’s how Washtenaw County Road Commission plans for winter storms

Southeast Michigan expected to get 2 to 6 inches of snow Saturday.

ANN ARBOR – As the pre-Christmas snowstorm makes landfall, the Washtenaw County Road Commission will be out clearing the roads.

Adam Lape, Director of Operations at WCRC, said his team began planning for a weather event earlier this week as forecasts began to take shape. Preparations included inspecting and preparing equipment, he said.

“Our agency deploys approximately 50 heavy trucks (dump trucks that plow and salt) each winter event,” Lape wrote via email. “Additionally, WCRC has multiple pick up trucks and pieces of heavy equipment to assist with storm clean up.”

Track live radar: Watch the winter storm move through Michigan

He added that large scale winter events require additional staff to clear the roads, including roughly 60 operators, six shop technicians, 12 foremen and supervisors, and two superintendents.

“In addition to the large team working on the road system we have a facilities team that maintains our properties during winter weather to guarantee access for our staff,” he wrote.

When it comes to deciding which roads to clear first, Lape said the WCRC uses the following priority routing system:

  • Priority 1: The most highly traveled roads in the county, including highways and county paved roads. When its snowing, we focus all of our efforts to keep these clear for emergency vehicles and travelers.
  • Priority 2: Local roads like subdivisions or unpaved roads. These will be cleared once the primary routes are cleared, if it starts to snow again, snowplows will leave these roads to go back to primary routes

For this particular storm, Lape said high winds and dangerously cold temperatures will be most challenging for crews clearing the road system.

Read: SE Michigan winter storm timeline breakdown, snow total predictions, flash-freeze concerns

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.