City crews prepping for Wichita whiteout

WICHITA, Kansas – With the trucks ready to roll, city leaders say they vividly remember issuing an apology in a snow storm last year.

“Very unfavorable weather conditions one particular morning that occurred during the morning rush hour literally,” said Joe Pajor, Wichita Public Works. “I will tell you the city’s response after last February is to err on the side of an abundance of caution to make sure that we have people available even on relatively small chances of precipitation.”

In other words, they’re making a list and checking it twice to make sure they don’t get caught off guard.

But, the salt/sand mixture they have on hand looks to be very limited for an extended snow event after icy roads this last weekend took away from the available city salt for treating the roads.

“Especially this weekend, the event took us from a fifty percent inventory level down to about a 32 or 33 percent level,” said Pajor.

The city says budget is not concern.

They will do what it takes to get the streets cleared and treat the slick spots after it snows.

The state of Kansas clears interstates and highways. and while they say they are ready for this snow event, they are still watching the forecast models very closely.

“These winter storms we never know how they are going to come in and that affects whether we pre-treat or not,” said Tom Hein, Kansas Department of Transportation.

But for now, state and city leaders are keeping a close eye on the forecast and a close eye on round number two another storm that we could get later in the week.

If it ends up snowing all day Tuesday, do not expect dry pavement on Wichita city streets by Wednesday night.

It takes the city crews 24-hours just to get the major snow routes plowed.

The city says do not expect to see salt on the roadways until after the snow stops because they do not apply the salt on the major avenues until they know they won’t be just plowing it right off the streets again.

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