Pierce County’s major roads connect residential areas to service centers and state highways.
These major roads are our priority during a snow and ice event, along with Pierce Transit and school bus snow routes. If you can get out of your neighborhood and reach a key arterial, you will likely find a drivable road.
The level of service these major roads receive during winter weather is determined by several factors, including weather conditions, the classification of the roadway, and available resources.
When a severe winter storm is forecast, our plan provides that crews apply anti-icing products to key arterials and lifelines routes assuming all resources are available.
If heavy snowfall affects roads countywide, plow trucks with de-icing materials are deployed 24 hours a day when all resources are available until conditions improve.
Once on detour, know where your route will travel by visiting our Snow/Extreme Weather page and clicking the tab (at the bottom) for your route number. The black dotted line shows the detour route; the red line indicates the portion of the route with no service during the detour.
Sign up for route-specific text messages that will arrive when your route goes on/off detour. Visit PierceTransit.org/StayConnected, enter your mobile number in the box on the right and select your route number(s) to sign up.
What Determines if My Routes Goes on its Snow Route Detour?
Because Pierce Transit’s service area spans 272 square miles, road and weather conditions can vary widely. Pierce Transit determines which routes to place on "snow route" detour status on a route-by-route basis. During a snow event, buses may come less frequently and it may take longer to get to your destination, especially if buses are chained and roads are icy or snowy.
Here is what you can do to ensure a safe transit trip during adverse weather:
Give yourself plenty of time to get to your bus stop. Walking conditions will likely be different from usual during ice and snow events.
Dress warmly and wear sturdy shoes with good traction. Remember, you may need to walk a bit further to a stop if your route is on detour.
Make sure the bus driver can see you. Even in daylight, stormy conditions can reduce visibility. Carry a flashlight, and use your cellphone light to flag the bus (please don’t flash it in the bus driver’s eyes - thank you!). Wear bright and/or reflective clothing so you can easily be seen.
In severe snow and ice, buses often avoid hills. If your bus stop is in the middle of a hill, walk to the bottom where the operator can safely stop.
Stand back from the curb until the bus comes to a complete stop. Buses can slip sideways in icy road conditions.
When warranted, Pierce County Emergency Management will coordinate with multiple voluntary and non-profit organizations to open emergency shelters. People are encouraged to bring personal comfort items, medications and toiletries to shelters. Most shelters do not allow pets; owners should check with shelters before bringing their animals and plan for alternative arrangements in advance.
To find out where open shelters are located, call Pierce County Emergency Management at (253) 798-7470 or call 211.
Pierce Transit provides transportation to shelters. Please call (253) 581-8000 for more information.