City of SeaTac maintenance crews sharpened their winter road-clearing skills this week preparing for winter weather by snowplowing wood chips.

On Wednesday morning, Oct. 18, 2023 at the SeaTac Maintenance Facility, about a dozen crew members took turns behind the wheel of one of the four City plows and practiced pushing wood chips as a substitute for snow.

In addition to plowing, crews practiced chaining up plows and driving the priority routes.

In 2022, the City initiated a new strategy to concentrate plowing efforts on priority routes which account for approximately 90% of City traffic. The City also prepped roadways with a mixture of salt and brine. Last winter, SeaTac used 30,695 gallons of brine to treat streets for the winter weather. During snowstorms, maintenance crews work 12-hour shifts to keep the streets clear and safe.

SeaTac has nearly 32,000 residents and contains about 81 miles of roadway. The City is home to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) which averages 140 thousand passengers a day and employs more than 20 thousand badged employees. The City works to keep routes open so employees, passengers, and essential goods can make it in and out of the Port facility.

Here’s a video the city produced in 2022 about their winter preparations, featuring John Letourneau at SeaTac Public Works and Maintenance Facilities as he explains why it’s important to practice snowplowing without snow: