Warm temperatures give road crews leg up on winter weather preparations

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Even though it's November, it's hard to think about snow when it's sunny and 72 degrees outside.

But that's exactly what's on the minds of Overland Park public works crews. The city has some new technology to help workers clear the streets faster.

Crews are driving their snow routes today with plows mounted on the trucks to become familiar with obstacles and test new computerized mapping equipment.

Every plow now has a tablet on-board that automatically tracks plow locations throughout Overland Park.

Drivers and dispatchers can see instantly which streets have been cleared, and which still need help.

"What we do, the more efficient we can be, it makes a big difference for the whole community," said Kyle Fleeman, of the city's public works department. "They can get out and about. Get to work, get to the store, wherever they need to go, doctors appointments and such. It’s a big deal."

The technology also helps crews mark streets blocked with parked vehicles so that smaller trucks can be dispatched to clear them. Drivers can also use the software to identify areas where mailboxes or sod has been damaged.

The last few winters have been relatively dry as far as snowfall goes, but with many new drivers each year, Overland Park says an efficient response is crucial to keeping the city accessible all winter long.

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