Wichita ready for winter with salt, plows

62 trucks will be active during winter storms

Wichita mayor Jeff Longwell says the city is getting ready for the winter season with plans to have 62 trucks running during major storms.

The mayor held his weekly news conference Thursday at the main public works facility at Harry and McLean.  He said the city has a supply of 8,000 tons of salt and sand, and it takes around 500 tons on average to deal with a single storm.  

Longwell said crews will be working 12-hour shifts during major storms, and it will take that entire shift to cover the 5,000 lane miles that have to be covered across the city.   Emergency routes will get the top priority, and then crews will be working the remaining arterial streets.   

The mayor said a feature on the city's web site will allow people to keep track of the plow trucks, which are equipped with GPS devices.  Public works director Alan King said a "bread crumb" feature will allow people to see where the trucks have been over a certain period.   That helps the city determine where the trucks are and where they can be dispatched to pick more of the salt and sand mix to use on the streets.

The amount the city spends on snow removal depends on the severity of the winter.  In 2014, the city spent $2.5 million, and in 2015 it was $2.2 million.   The city spent $1 million last year.   Mayor Longwell said the cost is evenly split on labor and material.  

 

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