Streets still filled with sand from winter road prep

WICHITA, Kan. — Almost anywhere you drive in Wichita, you can see sand spread across the roads.

It’s a sight that drivers will most likely see until June.

Now that the warm weather is returning, a lot of people are hoping to spend more time outdoors running or on their bikes, but they are finding themselves running into a bit of an issue with sand covering the sidewalks.

City officials say the cleanup of those sandy sidewalks can take months sometimes.

“There are about three or four routes that I try to use when I bike or run and all of them are covered in sand right now. It’s pretty dangerous to even try to use them, I got a flat tire a couple weeks ago and haven’t been bike riding since then,” said Hayley Domitrovic, a Wichita resident.

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And for people who bike or run that think it’s a problem, city officials say it may continue to be a problem because it isn’t their duty to clean it up.

“Under city code and state law, the adjacent property owner is required to keep sidewalks that are next to their property clear and passable and safe,” said Joe Pajor, Deputy Director of Public Works.

Just like with snow covered sidewalks, it’s up to residents to make the complain to the city or to clean it up.

Once that is done and the area is checked, a letter is sent out to the property owner giving them 25 days to clean up the area. If they still don’t fix it, the city sends another letter with the threat of a city clean up on their dime. Some people are wondering though why the city doesn’t just handle the issue upfront.

“We do have 1500 lane miles of snow emergency routes and most of those are arterials and many of those locations there’s a sidewalk on at least one and often times both sides of the arterial street so there would be an awful lot of area that would have to be cleaned,” said Pajor.

And for residents, the two month wait makes them wonder if it’s even worth it.

“I don’t see anything really being done if someone has to file a report, a complaint for one particular property when it’s miles of the same sidewalk that people are trying to use, I don’t know, I just don’t see it really being fixed so I guess I’ll just try to find other routes to take for now,” said Domitrovic.

Officials say they put down over 8,000 tons of sand with the snow activity Wichita had in the past couple months.

Wichita officials say that it will take until mid-June just to remove sand from the streets. It took 50 trucks working 24 hour days to put it all down originally but there is only 6 sweeper trucks.

The city broke cleanup into two phases. First was cleaning up the main part of the street and the turning lanes and now the city is in the second phase of cleaning along the curbs.

The city is about 25 percent of the way through its second pass of Wichita and that final 75 percent is what is taking so long.

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