Plowing frustrations in KCK neighborhoods

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Here we are in the midst of another snow storm, but some people in Kansas City, Kan., are still upset about how the last storm was handled. They think it took way too long for the residential streets to get cleared. Some folks in KCK were worried when it got to be late Friday night or Saturday afternoon and still no plows coming through residential areas.

Christine Schmaltz took some videos driving through her neighborhood to show how bad it was, and showing the plow as it finally got to her house 36 hours after the storm.

Christine's neighbor, Chris Garcia, says their street has a steep hill and lots of elderly folks living here, so that's why they were disappointed it took so long to get a plow here.

"It was a pretty poor job," said Garcia, "I couldn't get out of this driveway."

Unified Government Public Works Deputy Director Mike Tobin said they did get a lot of complaints over the weekend. But he says the problem was that his crews couldn't start on residential streets until late Friday because they were playing catch up.

"This storm was so large though that we had to go back on primaries and secondaries two and three times and that backed us up getting into the neighborhoods," he said.

Then another delay: he says Friday night it got so cold that the snow pack turned to ice and the plows couldn't do a thing until it warmed up Saturday morning. He says his crews have to focus on clearing the 39 primary routes, places like 7th Street and State Ave. Then they do the 58 secondary routes -- main roads that carry people to primary routes -- and then finally they hit the 143 residential streets.

He says residents can help crews by keeping cars off the roads, because that can sometimes slow down crews trying to get into some neighborhoods.

Some neighbors say if KCK crews are overwhelmed perhaps they should look into hiring contractors for help. But Tobin says that is not an option at least for now.

"We quite using contractors back in the 90s," he said, "we do it better with our own crew, our people are more interested in it and take more pride."

UG Public Works expects this storm will be a lot like the last one, with lots of snow dumping quickly, once again crews will have a hard time keeping the main roads cleared. So they're asking for residents to be patient.

If there are bad spots you'd like to report you can call 311 or the UG's Streets Department directly: 913-573-8307

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