Poulsbo Public Works crews shine through the storm

City crews worked in shifts, around the clock to clear Poulsbo’s streets

With the recent heavy snowfall in the area, kids across North Kitsap have rejoiced and reveled in snow day school cancellations, while their parents winced at the sight of snow-filled roads.

With numerous roads in Poulsbo having been rendered impassable, many grown-ups in town likely found a welcome sight in the city’s Public Works crews toiling through the night to clear the roadways in town.

Poulsbo’s Public Works Department Superintendent Mike Lund said if it seemed like his crews were working nonstop to clear the roads, well, it’s because they were.

“We’ve been running 24/7 shifts since Friday, when the snow started,” Lund said in an interview on Tuesday. “We’re running four man shifts, we have three plows out full-time and we’re just trying to keep up on it.”

Lund said initial efforts to clear Poulsbo’s roadways were looking promising but were later hampered by the arrival of even more snow Monday afternoon.

“We thought we were getting caught up, it was melting pretty good, the roads were looking pretty good, then it just opened up and let loose on us [that] afternoon,” Lund said.

Following Monday’s snowfall, Lund said crews had been working in 8 to 12-hour shifts around the clock to clear Poulsbo’s main streets. Once the main roads were cleared, he said, crews would begin focusing on peripheral streets and residential areas.

Lund had hardly wasted a breath talking about the department’s efforts before launching into compliments to the Public Works crews.

“The crews have just been busting their humps, we’ve got one mechanic who has been here since Friday and he’s just been getting two or three hours of sleep as he can,” Lund said, explaining that the mechanic had managed to find somewhere to sleep inside the Public Works building when possible. “Josh Howerton, he’s a rock star.”

It wasn’t the superintendent alone offering his praise to the Public Works Department either. Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson was also quick to express her gratitude for the efforts by the department.

“I am very proud of the work they’ve done,” Erickson said. “They’ve been literally working around the clock to make sure that the roads are clear and it’s safe for people.”

Pointing to an apparent thaw (as of press time for the North Kitsap Herald) Erickson said she hoped the overworked crews could finally get some well-earned shut-eye.

“We’ve got some really tired people right now, I’m really glad the weather’s warming up and maybe we can clear off this slush and let some guys get some sleep. It’s been a heavy lift.”

In assessing the city’s response to the storm, Erickson said Poulsbo was “really well prepared. We had a good stockpile of brine for the roads, a good supply of sand. We established a series of snow routes so that people had some certainty about when their roads were going to be cleared and which roads would be cleared first.”

“I think we’ve done a very good job, I’m very proud of the guys, I think they’ve done good work,” the mayor added.

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