As freezing weather continues, crews working to keep MLT and area roads clear

City of Mountlake Terrace Public Works department snowplow at work. (Photo courtesy City of Mountlake Terrace)

As frigid temperatures continue in the Puget Sound region, City of Mountlake Terrace public works employees are busy keeping the city’s primary travel routes passable.

Public Works Director Eric LaFrance said that as of early Monday afternoon, “Priority routes and arterials have been plowed, and they are starting on side streets.” He noted that crews have now turned their focus to distributing deicer and sanding, which will help break up the compacted snow, while some plowing efforts continue. “We are looking ahead and planning on responding to possibly more snow on Thursday,” LaFrance added.

City of Mountlake Terrace snow plowing priority routes.

The Mountlake Terrace Police Department is asking drivers to slow down, be aware of dramatically increased stopping distances and treat all intersections without power as four-way stops by not assuming that other vehicles will be able to stop.

“Thankfully, we have not experienced any major collisions,” Chief Pete Caw said, although “there were numerous minor collisions due to road conditions. Our advice is to slow down, anticipate issues and apply braking very carefully. When approaching intersections, wait for other (opposing) vehicles to stop prior to entering even if you have the right of way.”

Snohomish County Public Works road maintenance crews worked overnight to plow, sand and de-ice primary routes in unincorporated areas. Those efforts are ongoing until temperatures rise and conditions return to normal.

“Our crews have been working very hard to make sure that the primary routes are as clear as possible so that emergency responders can get through when they are needed,” Snohomish County Public Works Director Kelly Snyder said. “Luckily we should have a break in the snowfall today and we will begin clearing secondary and tertiary routes.”

The county’s prioritization of snow and ice routes is based on traffic volume, transit and school bus routes, terrain, and knowledge of problem areas. Public calls requesting service for road plowing are recorded but will not impact the priority listing during snow and ice events.

Snohomish County road maintenance crews moved to 24/7 operations to keep priority and secondary routes safe and open for travel. (Photo courtesy Snohomish County Public Works)

Before heading out during a snow or ice event, it is highly recommended that commuters check their travel routes and options. Those venturing through unincorporated Snohomish County can visit the department’s Snow and Ice webpage for road closure information, transit services and more. In addition, the snow removal and anti-icing map shows which routes are primary and secondary and allows residents to see what county roads have been recently plowed, sanded, or had anti-icing applied.

Drivers are advised to give snowplows and de-icer equipment plenty of room to work by allowing for a minimum following distance of 200 feet. Additional tips include:

  • If drivers must pass, take extreme caution and beware of the displaced snow and ice, or sand spray.
  • Vehicles parked along all major arterials and emergency routes must be moved off the street. Those vehicles left in the travel lane of a roadway and blocking traffic may be towed at the owner’s expense. It is recommended for vehicles to be moved when snow is in the forecast. Parking vehicles in the driveway and off the road helps the snowplows finish routes more quickly and efficiently.
  • Residents clearing driveways and snow berms are advised to pile the snow to the left side when facing the house, especially closer to the road. This prevents the snowplow blade from pushing the material back into the driveway. Throwing snow onto the road creates obstructions in the roadway and can be hazardous.
  • Keep drainage inlets near residences clear of leaves and debris during the winter months to help reduce the chance of flooding.
  • Try to keep garbage bins and other obstacles out of the street when the roads are icy or covered with snow.
  • Obey road closed signs.
  • Be sure to have vehicles mechanically prepared for cold weather. Have tire chains or traction tires readily available.
  • Keep food, water and medical supplies at home that will last at least one week. Pay attention to weather reports and plan ahead for even longer periods of time.

During snow/ice weather events call 911 if it’s a life-threatening emergency.

For non-life-threatening emergencies call 425-407-3999.

The phone number for Snohomish County road closure/plowing is 425-388-7500.

For human services-related needs including shelters and some food needs, call 211.

For overnight shelter, South Snohomish County’s Emergency Cold Weather shelter is located in Lynnwood and opens on nights with temperatures below 34 degrees. There are three pick-up locations in South Snohomish County. More information can be found at

State routes and highways are maintained by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). The status of those roadways are not reflected on the Snohomish County road closure webpage. For more information call 511 or visit WSDOT’s website.

The City of Mountlake Terrace’s phones are down and work on the issue is ongoing as of late Monday afternoon. However, the city can still be reached via email at

South County Fire is asking that residences and businesses with a fire hydrant nearby help clear snow and ice from around the hydrant.

A fire hydrant in Lynnwood was cleared of snow and ice. (Photo courtesy South County Fire)

The snowy weather and driving conditions led to local garbage collection services being canceled on Monday. Waste Management noted that “services cannot be provided today. We will resume collection when conditions allow.”

Due to the icy conditions, Edmonds College is operating remotely on Tuesday as all in-person services and activities have been canceled.

Chief Caw noted, “If you do not need to be out on the roads in these conditions, enjoy the snow from home.”

Landen Meadowcroft, 7, pushes a cart filled with salt, while his brothers Logan (red coat) and Preston (black and white coat), both 10, shovel a driveway. The three boys are offering their services to neighbors as a way to raise money for their summer lawn mowing business and a trip. (Photo courtesy Jeannine Meadowcroft)

— By Nathan Blackwell

  1. The City of Shoreline should take note. Their lack of maintenance (as in plowing and sanding) of Ballinger Way (you can tell where the city line with Lake Forest Park begins) during snow storms is deplorable (and the intersection of Ballinger Way and 15th NE is an ice rink). MLT needs to start thinking about the future needs of those along Van Ry Boulevard given the new residences and future light rail stop and begin plowing from Ballinger Way to the train station.

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