UPDATE: Monday, February 25, 2013
The City of Wichita has replenished their sand supply, with a shipment of 1,800 tons that just arrived.
Below is a news release issued by the City of Wichita Monday morning:
City of Wichita officials on Monday said sand supplies used to improve driving conditions during an extended winter storm had been restored to normal levels, but officials are still recommending motorists stay off slick roads if driving conditions deteriorate as weather forecasts predict.
On Sunday, City public works officials said they had low inventories of salt and sand due to last week’s storm that dumped more than 14 inches of snow across the metropolitan area. The City replenished its supply of sand later in the day, said Joe Pajor, the Deputy Director of Public Works & Utilities. He said crews will plow during the storm and only use sand if necessary to preserve the salt-sand mix for the end of the storm. This conservation approach may make roads slicker and more difficult to navigate than they were during last week’s storm. The National Weather Service is predicting up to 13 inches of snow today through Tuesday.
Snow and ice on streets melted significantly over the weekend because of warmer-than-expected temperatures. Sufficient snow melted on emergency routes, so City crews will be able to plow snow toward the curb and avoid pushing snow to the centerline.
Public works officials stressed that the area is under a blizzard warning until noon on Tuesday. Road conditions and visibility are expected to deteriorate throughout today. Blowing snow may make traveling difficult even after the snow ends. Drivers are urged to monitor weather changes and plan accordingly.
The City has 50 crews and 50 plow trucks working 12-hour shifts to clear roads, with a focus on snow emergency routes, which are the main road ways. Under City ordinance, the City does not clean residential streets. Homeowners and businesses are responsible for clearing sidewalks, parking lots and driveways.
Sunday, February 24, 2013
City of Wichita leaders are urging people in the Wichita-area to avoid non-essential travel during and after a winter storm that is expected to hit the metropolitan area Sunday night through Tuesday.
They say traveling conditions could be extremely hazardous. Due to snow Wichita received on Wednesday and Thursday, driving conditions may be worse than the previous storm.
"The unprecedented nature of this much snow in this short amount of time will create conditions, especially on residential streets but also across the entire city, that are unprecedented for the traveling public," said Joe Pajor, Director of Public Works and Utilities.
There is limited availability to store plowed snow on the curbs, so snow may need to be plowed into the middle lanes of four-lane roads. This will limit some roads to two lanes of traffic, with reduced capacity to turn left at some intersections.
Leaders also said that last week's storm has significantly reduced the city’s inventory of treatment materials, such as salt and sand.
"Road salt is in demand not only here in Wichita but from here to the Canadian border," Pajor said. "Everybody is trying to re-supply at the same time."
In an effort to conserve the remaining materials, the city may be only able plow roads during the storm and may not be able to utilize salt and sand until it stops snowing.
"Realizing that as they are plowing and not putting salt or sand down that will create slick spots and icy conditions," said. Lt. Doug Nolte of the Wichita Police Department. "Make sure you take plenty of time and slow down."
City crews will monitor forecasts and are continuing around the clock street treatments. They were scheduled to report for duty Sunday night at 6 p.m.
Emergency routes will be the priority for plowing operations. The city is also coordinating its plowing operations with the Sedgwick County Election Office to clear roads to polling places for Tuesday’s primary municipal election.
Under city ordinance, residents and businesses are responsible for clearing parking lots, driveways and sidewalks on their properties. They may need to be cleared multiple times due to the intensity of the storm.
"Neighborhood streets are not part of the snow removal plan unless they are a designated emergency route or school route," Pajor said.
Pajor said that's because of resources, cost, and concerns about blocking driveways and burying vehicles. Any change to the current city policy would have to come from the city council.
The Emergency Accident Reporting Plan (EARP) will go into effect once weather conditions are such that safety needs necessitate it, Lt. Nolte said.