Why no salt? PBOT addresses road issues, drivers brace for more - KPTV - FOX 12

Why no salt? PBOT addresses road issues, drivers brace for more freezing temps

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From cars spinning out, to drivers abandoning their cars, and the nightmare of a commute, with traffic backed-up as far as the eye can see - no doubt about it, Wednesday’s snowstorm took a major toll on roads and drivers.

Even though the snow has stopped falling, the mess left behind can still be seen all around the metro area.

Many have said they think transportation officials should have done more to keep drivers safe.

Now it’s slick spots, like the hilly Mt. Scott area, that has the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s attention.

There’s a handful of abandoned cars, and the road is closed as tow trucks pull cars from the area.

Going into Friday and weekend, the message from PBOT is simple and familiar: avoid the roads.

Jim Keep has seen his fair share of metro area winter storms.

“I’ve been here about 20 years and this is the worst I’ve ever seen,” said the Mt. Scott homeowner.

That’s why he much prefers the sound of snow crunching beneath his feet, compared to the squeal of cars spinning out.

“It was just crazy, cars sliding everywhere. I just park at the bottom of the hill and walk up the hill,” Keep told FOX 12.

Several drivers didn’t quite make it up the hill on 112th in the Mt. Scott area, forcing some to abandon their cars.

“There’s a lot of snow that builds up, we’re higher than down in the valley. Mt. Scott gets slick, so we just wait it out,” said Rich Hall, Mt. Scott homeowner.

Hall owns a home on the hill that he’s renting to tenants. We caught him trying to get up the hill to check in on them.

After losing momentum in his chained up SUV, he tries again, and finally makes it up. But many others did not.

“It’s pretty steep and it gets pretty slick. Last night I tried to do it and there were four or five cars piled up,” Hall said.

And that’s keeping tow truck drivers busy.

PBOT says they’ve ticketed at least 36 abandoned cars, and towed over 30.

“In a case like yesterday, if you can get to the side of the road, please do so and get out of the travel lane if you have abandon your car. If you can get to a side street and legally park, that’s ideal,” said John Brady, PBOT.

With more freezing temperatures on the way, PBOT says crews will stay on the clock.

“We’ll be going through with our plow, we’ll be through with sand and grit trying to get down to pavement,” Brady told FOX 12.

With treacherous driving conditions, many wonder why PBOT doesn’t utilize salt.

“It’s highly corrosive, both to cars and equipment. Because of that, it’s very expensive to store. It also has environmental impacts. That’s why the city has made the decision not to use salt. We only have these events once a year—so are those costs worth it? It’s a larger conversation that needs to be had,” Brady explained.

PBOT’s biggest piece of advice - until it all melts.

“Avoid unnecessary travel. If you do have to travel, we recommend transit,” Brady said.

If you abandoned your car, and still haven’t gotten back to it, PBOT says the high priority ticket and tow areas will be streets on transit routes.

For the latest weather forecast from the FOX 12 Weather team, as well as the latest traffic updates and closings information, download our free FOX 12 Weather App for iPhone and for Android

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