All 60 of Wichita’s city trucks were treating major roads Thursday as a storm system moved through the area causing havoc for many Wichita drivers.
The trucks are laying sand and salt on the roads, according to Alan King, Wichita’s public works and utilities director. They’re working 12-hour shifts until the main roads are clear. About 90 accidents were reported Thursday morning.
King said the trucks are keeping their plow blades up because there is little to no snow on the roads. The trucks are putting down a 50 percent mix of sand and salt because the more effective brine washes away easily, he said.
The trucks dropped the mixture Wednesday night ahead of the winter storm, but freezing rain, sleet and snow washed much of it away, he said. Trucks started up again at around 4 a.m. Thursday.
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He said many of the major roads are in good condition, but trucks will keep operating until the roads are no longer slick.
King said it takes eight to 12 hours to put down the sand and salt mix on the major roads. Neighborhood streets are not treated.
A snowplow tracker is available online as well, King said.
Officer Charley Davidson said about 90 accidents were reported to Wichita police Thursday in the Wichita metro area between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m.
Trooper Chad Crittenden said on Twitter that Kansas Highway Patrol troopers in the Wichita area worked over 30 crashes between 6 a.m. and 1 p.m.
The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office said on Twitter that deputies responded to 35 vehicle slide-offs and crashes between 5 a.m. and 11 a.m.
Davidson said the emergency accident reporting plan is in effect, where drivers can exchange information and fill out reports at police stations bureaus or QuikTrips, through the department’s phone app or online, if no alcohol or drugs are involved.
Davidson also advised drivers not to leave their vehicles running unattended.
King said the forecast shows the storm is moving away and road conditions are improving after precipitation stopped, but low temperatures will continue to refreeze anything that melts. He advised drivers to be careful overnight and Friday morning.