City of Wichita takes action ahead of potentially severe winter storm

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Forecasts show potential for a serious winter storm across the state this weekend, but the City of Wichita is prepared, according to Alan King, director of Wichita Public Works and Utilities.

In an effort to beat the possible severe weather, the city started to brine the streets on Monday.

“It’s about the best thing we can do ahead of the storm,” King said. “It isn’t particularly useful if we get some heavy washing rain that has a tendency to wash that off, but it’s something we can do to try to cover icing if we don’t get the heavy rains.”

The goal is to get several layers of brine on the streets of Wichita in anticipation of potential ice.

If the forecasts play out, Wichita is prepared to send out all the trucks in 12 hour shift rotations to keep the brine coming throughout the entire weekend.

“Part of that being flexible is making sure that we have all our equipment serviced and ready and to have folks that are on standby so that we can call them in and know that they’re going to be available,” King said.

When it comes to preparing streets, there’s a few surprising areas that are especially dangerous for drivers and get some extra focus.

One dangerous area people don’t often think about is the space in front of stop signs, King said. That’s because when there’s an icy patch and cars have to come to a complete stop, they can often skid out of control and onto a busy street.

“You may have ice all along the road but if there’s any place you want to try to control the ice, it’s right before the stop sign because that’s a safety issue,” he said.

Other areas the city pays close attention to include primary streets and secondary streets like neighborhood roads that may be used by school buses.

There’s also a focus on elevated roads like overpasses and bridges, which are known for freezing over easily.

“We’re going to first and foremost monitor and give the latest information about what the forecast is saying for this particular area and be flexible so that we can adjust our approach depending on what we actually encounter as we go through the event,” King said.

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