KDOT, Highway Patrol Prepared For Winter Storm

By: Phil White Email
By: Phil White Email

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Sunday, December 30, 2012

As snow is expected to make its way across KAKEland, it may affect travel plans and morning and afternoon commutes on Monday.

State transportation officials say they have been preparing for the storm since Friday.

There are steps drivers can take to prepare, too.

Those traveling can call 511 or check the latest Kansas road conditions using an interactive map of highways statewide at kandrive.org. In the Wichita metro area, real time images captured by traffic cameras along the city's busiest highways show the latest traffic and weather conditions at wichway.org.

Kansas Department of Transportation crews statewide are prepared to head to work to keep roads clear.

"They know that it's coming in and they're ready to be called out of bed if need be," KDOT spokesman Tom Hein said Sunday.

KDOT crews began pre-treating highways Friday. Hein said almost all road surfaces maintained by the state have been treated. Before the winter storm that hit Kansas Dec. 19 - 20, KDOT crews only treated bridges and ramps.

"We treated everything this time because we feel like this is a more significant storm and may come in as ice and we'll need that treatment everywhere, we think," Hein said.

The potential mixture of ice, snow and New Year's celebrations has the Kansas Highway Patrol concerned.

"Obviously, New Year's Eve is a holiday that many people consume alcohol to celebrate the holiday and that is a concern that there may be more impaired drivers," said Kansas Highway Patrol Lt. Carl Mackey.

He said troopers are concerned with keeping drunk drivers off the road at all times, but especially if ice and snow are also on the road.

"It (alcohol) reduces their judgment and reaction time and those are two very important things that are needed when operating a vehicle during inclement weather," Mackey said.

Highway Patrol troopers will be out in full force New Year's Eve, he said.

"We will be diligently pursuing impaired drivers and people driving too fast for the conditions on the roadway," Mackey said.

KDOT crews are ready to be out in full force as well if they are needed, especially with thousands of football fans getting ready to hit the road.

"When we have a storm, we generally go to 12-hour shifts," Hein said. "They start at 8 a.m. and end at 8 p.m. and then the night shift comes on. We work the storms 24 hours a day until we feel like it's under control."

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