Wichita Public Works & Utilities crews have been preparing for the upcoming winter storm, scheduled to slam the area Saturday evening through Sunday afternoon, according to The National Weather Service. Forecasts predict substantial snow and ice by Sunday.
City crews are working around-the-clock response, which started with brine pre-treatment. Brine loosens ice and snow on roadways, which allows for more effective plowing during storm events. Crews finished brining the primary routes on Thursday and are now working on secondary and school routes. Brine will continue to be applied until the storm commences.
Additional crews are on standby through the weekend and will be activated once precipitation is imminent. Around 100 personnel will work on 50 plow trucks, rotating 12-hour shifts to improve driving conditions during the winter storm.
The workers will be using a salt/sand mix. The salt helps melt the ice, while the sand provides traction for vehicles. To treat freezing rain and sleet, the trucks will have their plows raised and will be dropping a salt/sand mix. The salt helps melt the ice, while the sand provides traction for vehicles. With the plows raised, trucks can more quickly spread the salt/sand mix needed for ice accumulation. Plows will be down when the salt/sand mix is not enough on its own to treat the roadways, especially during periods of heavy snowfall.
There is adequate supply of salt and sand to respond to this storm. The City has about 5,500 tons of salt/sand mix at the outset of this storm, which is enough for roughly three full passes across the city’s snow routes.
Road Conditions Forecast
The condition of Wichita streets is highly dependent on the form, severity, and duration of the precipitation that falls. Under the current forecast, motorists can expect a mix of accumulating snow and ice. That would make roadways difficult to navigate, especially in the middle of a storm. Warming temperatures on Monday afternoon and Tuesday, combined with the salt/sand treatments and snow plowing, should ensure that the roads are clear by the early part of next week.
City crews will first address the 1,500 lane miles of snow emergency routes – these are primarily the major arterials throughout Wichita. Secondary and school routes will be next in line for treatment.
Maps of the snow routes can be found on the City’s website, under the Public Works & Utilities page. The maps are accessible directly at the following link: