INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Engines are warming up. This weekend’s expected winter weather has public works departments filling up their trucks with salt and brine and prepping their snow plows.
Kansas City area communities are preparing for the first major snow of the season.
Zan McKinney, with the City of Independence, said the city is about one-third down on staffing from where they really need to be. But he’s prepared to run 12-hour shifts for four days, if needed, after having to select and train some city employees as new plow drivers.
“Where this hurts us the worst is when we get into those Level 3 streets, those local traffic residential areas,” McKinney said. “It takes us so much more time to get to those areas that people have already started driving on it. It hard packs that snow.”
In Kansas City, Missouri, leaders said they confronted low head count early on. City Manager Brian Platt said 50 more trucks will be on the streets with around 100 new drivers.
“It’s just a question of finding those who drive trucks for their daily jobs and know how to drive trucks and training them appropriately,” Platt said.
Hopes are high in Olathe. The city’s street maintenance department has roughly 20 new operators, all of whom have never plowed snow streets.
But they’ll be ready to clear 1,400 lane miles this weekend.
“We’re pretty well caught up,” said Chad Courtois, Olathe’s street maintenance supervisor. “We’re still a little short of where we’d like to be. We believe in our snow plan, our employees and our snow programs. I don’t think people will see a drop in level of service. We’re pretty confident we can handle the storm.”
The plan in all these metro cities and others is straightforward: clear the streets efficiently before winter whirls out of control.