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Expect icy streets for Tuesday’s morning rush hour in KC as temps plummet overnight

Snow-packed roads slow Monday morning commute in Kansas City

Snow-packed roads from a blizzard that dumped 5.8" of snow at Kansas City International Airport on Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018 slowed the Monday morning commute throughout the metro-area.
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Snow-packed roads from a blizzard that dumped 5.8" of snow at Kansas City International Airport on Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018 slowed the Monday morning commute throughout the metro-area.

Although some roads are in better shape a day after Sunday’s strong winter storm, Kansas City drivers should expect slippery streets during the morning rush hour Tuesday.

Kansas City road crews have not cleared all of the city’s streets. And conditions could worsen overnight as temperatures are expected to drop to the single digits, which would cause any melting snow and water on the ground to refreeze.

“Expect a slick rush hour on Tuesday morning,” said Kansas City spokesman Chris Hernandez.

When temperatures drop into the single digits, the salt and chemicals used to treat roads doesn’t work as well to prevent refreezing.

“The clearest streets will be the main streets,” Hernandez said. “If you can get to a main street, it is going to be passable, although you are going to have to watch out for the ice that’s going to be on the road.”

Neighborhood streets will be a challenge to morning traffic.

Crews have been out on Sunday and Monday, and they will keep working for the next couple of days. But many streets remain snow-packed.

“The trucks, because they are smaller, don’t have as much force to get in there and dig that snowpack out,” Hernandez said. “And they don’t have as much traffic, so the salt can’t get in there and do its work.”

It will likely take another day or two before the neighborhood streets will be in better shape, Hernandez said.

“This was a big storm. We have attacked it with a full fleet of snowplows,” he said.

That included more than 165 large and small trucks on the main thoroughfares and neighborhood streets.

“We know the big question for everyone is, ‘How soon is my street going to be plowed?’” Hernandez said. “We are working on that.”

To help plows clear the streets, people are asked to park on the north side of east-west streets and on the west side of the north-south streets.

“If everyone can park on the same side of the street, that allows plows to get through faster and more efficiently and really get those roads cleaned off,” Hernandez said.

The storm posed several challenges, including the amount of snow that fell — nearly 6 inches — in a relatively short time. Stong winds blew the snow back onto already-plowed roads.

The rain that preceded the snow meant there was no sense in pre-treating the roads, Hernandez said.

“We did not pre-treat, as most agencies did not, because that rain would have just washed it off and the snow would have come down anyway,” he said. “Because of the way the storm moved in, it rendered pre-treating impossible.”

Instead, the city treated the roads with salt as they plowed, which allowed the salt to help grind down the snow and then melt it as temperatures climbed Monday.

Crews started salting the roads as soon as the snow started falling. Once the snow got deep enough, crews lowered the snowplow blades on their trucks and started pushing the snow out of the way.

“Success for every single resident means that their street got plowed quickly,” Hernandez said. “That’s a goal we would like to have for everyone. We know it’s tough to achieve that, but we are out there working every day trying to get there.”

The city asks residents to be patient after winter storms and to give them 24 hours to treat the roads before calling the city’s 311 Call Center. Residents on Tuesday can start calling the center to report slick areas.

Road conditions are deteriorating in Kansas City as a winter storm with heavy snow and strong winds moves through the city.

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