UPDATE: Wichita crews working to clear roads following latest snowfall

By: KAKE News - Email
By: KAKE News - Email
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WICHITA, Kan. -- City of Wichita crews continue to work on area roadways in the wake of a winter storm that moved through the area Tuesday.

Fifty trucks are out on Wichita streets plowing snow and dispersing sand. According to Joe Pajor, Deputy Director of Public Works and Utilities, the extremely low temperatures make the limited salt on hand less effective.

All primary routes will be plowed and sanded by this afternoon, then Pajor says crews will begin treatment of secondary routes.

City officials also want to remind Wichita residents that property owners are responsible for clearing sidewalks. Also, residents and businesses are prohibited from moving snow from private driveways, parking lots and sidewalks into public streets.

Many roads remain snow-packed. City crews will stay in emergency snow operations through the rest of the week because of the possibility of additional snow.

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Now that most of the expected snow has fallen, city of Wichita crews are tackling clearing the roadways.

Late Tuesday night, crews were expected to plow and sand the city's emergency snow routes. But they say they will have to be a bit conservative given their low supplies of materials, especially salt.

"Bottom line, we are going to be stretched in terms of the salt and sand resources we have available," said Joe Pajor, Deputy Director of Public Works and Utilities.

Recognizing that, the 100 city workers and 50 trucks on duty spent the majority of Tuesday plowing key roadways. There were unable to aggressively treat the roads until the snow stopped falling because it much of it would have likely been rendered ineffective by the constant moisture, Pajor said.

Once the snow stopped Tuesday evening, city crews were expected to begin working on the 1500 "lane miles" of emergency snow routes.

"We have sufficient salt and sand to do a full treatment of all our snow emergency routes," Pajor said.

Pajor says it takes city crews 24 hours to make one pass of those routes all the way through.

Beyond those emergency routes, Pajor said city crews may have to use only sand in some spots to conserve resources.

The city received a small delivery of about 25 tons of salt on Monday, Pajor said. That's enough to make 50 tons of the salt and sand mixture. But he says that pales in comparison to the nearly 3,000 tons the city has on order.

"We continue to visit with alternative suppliers in the state about possible supply, but obviously everybody is in the same situation," Pajor said.

With the many challenges in combating this latest winter blast, city leaders are asking drivers to do their part to take at least some pressure off the hard-working crews.

"If people stay off the streets, it's going to enhance our ability to recover from this storm event and get us back to better traffic conditions soon," Pajor said.

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