200 tons of salt: Kansas City area road crews prepare for significant snowfall

Published: Feb. 1, 2022 at 11:28 AM CST
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KANSAS CITY METRO (KCTV) - With winter weather coming our way late Tuesday night, area road crews are already preparing for the several inches of snow expected to fall on the metro starting Tuesday night.

The Kansas Department of Transportation’s staff is spending Tuesday loading spreaders and mounting plows. They took time Monday to make sure their trucks were in good shape.

Since rain is expected before the snow, KDOT crews do not plan on pre-treating the roads. But once the precipitation starts, they will be out spreading around 200 tons of salt.

While KDOT is working with fewer drivers than usual, they said they’re doing the most they can with the staff they do have.

“Out of the 46 positions that I have, we’re 16 short,” said Albert Horn with the local KDOT crews. “But we’ve been able to fill out trucks during these snow and ice events with the extra engineering staff that we have.”

Unlike their KDOT counterparts, road crews in Kansas City, MO, will be pre-treating roads. They began early Tuesday morning.

“Every road in Kansas City---residential routes and major roads---will be on a pre-treatment schedule,” Maggie Green with Kansas City Public Works told KCTV5 on Monday. “So, salt and salt brine will be used throughout the day.”

Kansas City plans to update this webpage every few hours throughout the winter storm to keep residents up to date with their snow removal operations.

The City of Olathe said its crews plan to start pre-treating on Tuesday.

Neighboring Lee’s Summit is also preparing for the storm. Shawn Graff, the city’s Assistant Director of Public Works Operations, said the storm has the potential to be the worst the city has seen since 2014.

“It looks like it’s going to be a substantial snowstorm and it’s going to take us a little while to get all the streets plowed and treated throughout the city. So, we ask for everyone’s patience as we work through this,” Graff said.

In Lee’s Summit, crews have a priority system when it comes to treating and plowing roads. First are primary routes, which consist of the main thoroughfares through the city. Then, there’s the larger roads that feed into the primary ones. Most residential streets are lower in priority.

“We want to make sure that most homes are within about a quarter of a mile of a primary or secondary route. We can typically get primary and secondary routes done in about 12 hours,” Graff said. “Residential routes are large and they take us a long time. Especially with snow this heavy, it’s going to take us a while.”

Road crews across the metro urge drivers to park their vehicles in a driveway or garage, anywhere off the street. If that’s not an option, parking all cars on the same side of the street also helps plows have room to move down streets freely.

“If you do not need to get out, please stay home and don’t get out. Because then, if you get out and get stuck, we’ve got to work around that on the roads trying to get them plowed,” Graff said.

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