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Federal Way expects reimbursement for storm response

Ryan Thomas of Federal Way
Ryan Thomas of Federal Way's Public Works department helps clear a fallen tree from S. 333rd Street on the morning of Jan. 19, 2012.
— image credit: Courtesy of the City of Federal Way

Federal Way was one of the hardest hit areas in last month’s winter storms that temporarily crippled the region.

Local efforts went well to clear the streets of snow and ice, and afterwards, clear them from fallen debris. The city has an established snow route map that prioritizes which streets will be cleared first, said Cary Roe, Federal Way’s Public Works and Parks Director. The order of priority is arterials, collector streets and steep residential streets, and then general residential streets, he said.

Roe updated the city council regarding Federal Way’s response to the snowstorm, which hit Jan. 18-19. Roe also reviewed the amount of materials used and the man-hours spent in keeping Federal Way streets clear of snow and ice.

The city applied 160 tons of sand, 100 tons of salt and 4,000 gallons of deicer. “Total hours of operation through Monday, February 6: Labor is 1,719 hours. That’s primarily parks and public works staff. 756 hours of overtime in that same period, and 1,886 hours of equipment use,” Roe told the council Feb. 7.

For the snow removal efforts, Roe said the bill will be approximately $104,000. Combined with the residential and right-of-way debris cleanup and pickup, the city is looking at a tab of approximately $165,000 for the storm. Roe said there is a chance that most of this cost to the city will be reimbursed from disaster funds.

“It appears King County has reached the damage threshold of $6.55 million, so King County will be eligible (for federal disaster relief aid). That will be submitted to the governor, and then the governor will make an assessment on whether to forward it to the federal government,” Roe said. “If all of that occurs, some of these funds will be eligible for reimbursement. Generally speaking, that involves about 75 percent of the amount spent.”

Roe said the city has collected 111 tons of debris from residential curbside pick up, and also picked up about 58 tons of debris from Federal Way’s major arterials. The city follows the same pattern as snow removal when it comes to debris removal, meaning it focuses on the major streets first before working its way into neighborhoods and other areas.

At the peak of the storm, Roe said 29,000 Federal Way residents were without power, and approximately 11,000 homes or housing units were dark. The community center was used as a temporary shelter for the first time, with 80 people sheltered overnight between Jan. 19-21. In addition, 192 meals were served, along with 450 snacks. The city partnered with Red Cross to make the community center a welcoming place during the cold and frustrating days following the storm, he said.

Councilwoman Dini Duclos thanked Roe and his staff for their hard work, and also thanked them for taking care of some local roads that don’t necessarily fall under the purview of the city, such as Dash Point Road SW and parts of Pacific Highway South.

“We didn’t want to leave that one (Dash Point) so that people couldn’t successfully and carefully transverse that road. So, thank you for that,” she said.

 

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