FAQ: Snow and ice removal on Washington County roads

How does Washington County prepare for winter weather conditions?

Washington County’s winter operations strategy includes mobilizing employees, equipment and other resources —around the clock, if needed —to minimize risks wintry road conditions pose to travelers, infrastructure and property. Approximately 426 miles of road are included in our snow plow and ice control routes.

snow plowWhat does Washington County do to mitigate snowy or icy road conditions? 

  • Anti-icing: May be applied to roads before weather events (or immediately after) to minimize slippery conditions. Anti-icer can only be applied in dry conditions
  • Sanding: Applied to improve traction on slippery roads
  • Snow plowing: Deployed as needed to remove snow accumulation

Why are some roads snow plowed or sanded while others are not?

To make the best use of the County's limited resources, routes that provide access to critical facilities, emergency services and major corridors are considered priority for snow-an-ice removal. These routes are plowed first, followed by other arterial and collector roads.

Neighborhood streets are not plowed except in extreme circumstances, and only after arterial and collector routes are cleared.

How do travelers know which roads are priority routes for anti-icing, sanding or snow plowing?


Can snow plowing or sanding be requested for a specific road?

Yes, however: 

  • Priority snow plow/sanding routes are the County's primary focus
  • Narrow neighborhood roads lined with parked cars are a challenge for large plows and sanders. Sand trucks spread material over wide areas and may damage parked cars and other property near the roadway.

To contact Washington County:

To report a hazardous road condition outside of normal business hours, call the countywide nonemergency response number: 503-629-0111.

What if a road is still covered with snow or ice after sanding or plowing?

Even after treatment, compacted snow, ice or both may remain on roads. Travelers are always urged to travel with caution and use appropriate traction devices.

Does the County use road salt in winter weather conditions?

Like other Oregon road agencies, Washington County has not traditionally used road salt to help melt ice and snow on roadways due to the cost and adverse impact to roads, cars and the environment. 

Does the County close roads due to hazardous winter weather conditions?

Specific roads are not usually closed or restricted for snowy or icy conditions alone. However, the County may close or restrict roads blocked by downed trees or power lines on the road, and to allow safe emergency response to incidents. Additionally, the County may recommend, or even require, snow chains or tires for travel on specific roads.


How can travelers learn about conditions on a specific route or road?

Follow @WashCoRoads on Twitter for alerts on road conditions that may affect a large number of drivers. The County also posts alerts related to emergency road closures and restrictions on wc-roads.com.

For state highway conditions, check the Oregon Department of Transportation's TripCheck website or sign up to receive tweets from ODOT for conditions on specific state highways.Tips for driving in winter weather are available from Washington County and ODOT.


What should travelers do during winter weather conditions?

A traveler's first line of defense during winter weather conditions - including on icy or snow roads - is to be prepared. Consider these strategies for safe winter traveling.



Snow plow routes 

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Ice control routes 

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Sandbag site icon 

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