KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City, Missouri, Public Works, already entering their highest level of response from their snow command center, has a warning for drivers Thursday.
“On the surface you’re going to have black ice, and it may be covered with snow. Don’t be fooled that, ‘Oh, it’s just a dusting. I can drive over it.’ There may be ice under that,” KCMO Public Works Director Michael Shaw said.
Their strong recommendation is to stay off the roads Thursday, with ice being a major concern.
On Wednesday, crews continued their pre-treatment of city roads using salt, brine, and other mitigators, anything to give them an edge on the freeze that’s expected.
The city’s Traffic Engineering Division is home base for operations and a spot for some of their hundreds of drivers to get refills on those materials.
The city reports having a 40,000 ton stockpile of salt plus 50 new vehicles in their snow removal fleet, created by retrofitting existing city vehicles with plows.
Dry and dusty, the salt hits the roadways ahead of the storm. That includes roads like Antioch and Vivion, the location of the food truck Tacon Madre.
Owner Ana Sifuentes said they are expecting to close Thursday because of the weather. Already there are challenges in the cold.
“Everything gets cold and frozen. Especially the vegetables,” Sifuentes said. “We give the customers the buzzer. So as soon as the order is ready we give them this and start beeping it. So the customers come back [from their cars] so they don’t have to stay in the cold all day,” Sifuentes said.
The city will track their vehicles by GPS – using this computer system to make sure they’re hitting roads as best as they can. But ice remains a concern going into the weekend.
“Even though the snow may not be significantly high, but just the constant blowing of the snow – we’re going to be plowing the streets and the snow’s going to get back on the streets cause obviously we’re not plowing grass. So the snow from those grassy areas are going to end up back on the street,” KCMO Public Works Director Michael Shaw said.
At the food truck, the weather means the trailer will stay put and there’s no plans for holiday travel.
“Not this year. Hopefully next year,” Sifuentes said. “My kids love it. The little one, yes. She wants a white Christmas.”
The KCMO fleet has 290 snow removal vehicles. They will be working 24-hours-day, splitting work into 12 hour shifts.
On the Kansas side, the Unified Government of Wyandotte County has issued a snow and parking emergency that starts at 10 p.m. Wednesday.
Public Information Officer Dave Reno says if you have to be out Thursday, having chains on your car may be a good idea.
“If your vehicle does become stalled, there’s a chance your vehicle could be towed in order to make room for emergency vehicles,” Reno said in an interview with FOX4 Wednesday. “Also in a snow emergency, absolutely no parking on snow emergency routes.”
Reno says UG workers will start getting in at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday to start pre-treating streets.
“For 12 hours, we’ll have about 25 team members on, 25 plows on the street,” he continued. “When it’s time for them to get home and get some good rest, the next crew comes in , another 25 folks, and they work their 12 hours, and it just keeps rotating until everything is back to normal.”
Overland Park is not issuing a snow emergency, but they are handling their snow removal process in a similar way.
“They’ll be in tonight at 7:30,” Media Relations Manager Meg Ralph said in an interview with FOX4 Wednesday.
Ralph said workers will be at the public works facilities to make sure everything’s running smoothly.
“For the most part, we’ll have drivers out in trucks,” she continued. “We’ve got 25 to 30 drivers kind of on every shift. Some of them will be doubled up in trucks to train and make sure that everything is running smoothly, but some of our more veteran drivers are on their own for their shift.”
Public works crews will have to monitor what type of substance to use out on the streets Thursday morning. Salt may not work as well because of the cold temperatures, so crews may go to a salt and sand mix, or they may just put down regular sand to give drivers traction, but that will not melt the ice.
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