KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Many Kansas City area public works officials see the potential winter weather on Tuesday morning as pretty strange.
But they’re at the ready on both sides of the state line, with tools and trucks packed and ready to roll. These workers are accustomed to hearing “all hands on deck” in the winter months, but not when the weather hits 55 degrees, as it did Monday afternoon.
Gas tanks on city trucks are full in Kansas City in case this springtime snowfall turns into a tricky Tuesday drive.
Maggie Green, spokesperson for Kansas City’s Public Works, said pretreatment might be worthless, since the impending weather event is expected to begin with rainfall before switching over to snow during the morning hours. Green said rain would just wash away anything added to the streets.
“We are just going to watch the forecast as close as we can. We have a night shift prepared to come in as soon as the rain turns to snow,” Green said Monday.
Kansas City’s Public Works will have 100 people working during the overnight shift and as many as 180 during the daytime period. Green said, if necessary, more drivers can be pulled into the mix from other city departments, such as the Parks and Rec or Water departments.
Green also said Monday was a work day, during which city trucks were fitted with snowplows and salt spreaders before being sent back to their routine tasks, such as pothole repairs.
“We’re just going to play it by ear. If it starts to accumulate, we’ll get out there and start salting and plowing. If we end up not needing to plow, then we’ve at least mobilized our crews to be ready for anything,” Green explained.
Public works employees also load up their trucks in Overland Park. Bulldozers dumped loads of salt into the city’s trucks.
Tony Hofmann, Overland Park’s Public Works director, said 50-60 workers are planning to be on the road as the snow and rain mix, and they’re expecting to be at their busiest during the 1-4 a.m. period. Ground temperatures may not be warm enough for snow to pile up, given the warm temperatures Monday afternoon provided.
“We’re here to protect the public on our streets,” Hofmann said. “It’s Midwest weather. This one is going to come in quickly. It doesn’t look like a long duration event. We’ll be monitoring the conditions if they change. We’ll be ready for it.”
Green added that bridges and overpasses will be a point of focus all week since morning temperatures will be below freezing on Wednesday and Thursday as well.