Officials gear up for winter: Ontario road crews ready to go ‘as soon as snow flies’

This photo from the infamous Snowpocalypse winter of 2016-17 shows one of the sand trucks used by crews with Jacobs, the City of Ontario’s Public Works Department.

ONTARIO — Thanksgiving travel plans for people in the greater Treasure Valley may be disrupted as the National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory starting at 11 p.m. tonight through late Wednesday for Boise and the surrounding areas, including Ontario.

Local and state officials in charge of keeping roads safe on the Oregon side are already prepping for the storm.

“We are prepared for the projected winter storm events,” wrote Cliff Leeper, director of the City of Ontario’s Public Works department. “We have 2 sanding trucks loaded and fully functional. Our mag[nesium] chloride truck is ready for use as needed. Crews have been put on alert status and will follow set routes as soon as the snow flies.”

State officials are making plans for highways and urging motorists to be prepared for winter travel. In addition to being ready for chains, turning off cruise control and other safe driving recommendations, Oregon Department of Transportation Officials remind motorists to keep their cellphones charged.

In addition, ODOT urges checking to ensure vehicle accessories, such as wipers, headlights and heater are in good working order before hitting the road.

“Thanksgiving is one of the busiest times for travel,” said ODOT District 13 Manager Ace Clark in a recent news release. “We will have crews on the highways day and night plowing snow, applying sand, salt and deicer as appropriate, and monitoring conditions.”

Officials urge motorists to plan for extra travel time and to increase the following distance.

“We want everyone to get to their destination safely,”

Clark says.

There are construction projects happening along Interstate 84 from Boise all the way to La Grande.

According to the advisory, the storm will impact Oregon and Idaho with conditions deteriorating tonight as snowfall increases. The storm is expected to be accompanied by strong wind, with 6 to 10 inches of snow expected through Wednesday evening in northern Malheur and Harney counties and western Baker County, as well as the Camas Prairie and nearby mountains in central Idaho.

Travel is expected to be impacted during the storm and motorists are urged to be prepared for slippery road conditions, especially in the morning and evening.

In the local area, the storm is expected to produce between 1 to 3 inches of snow and winds gusting as high as 35 mph.

ODOT officials remind motorist to wash off vehicles at the end of their trip to remove road salt and deicer residue as well as mud and snow.

Leslie Thompson is the editor at The Argus Observer. She can be reached at (541) 823-4818 or by emailing To comment on this story, go to

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