City crews may have to dump extra snow

City crews haven't had to dump excess snow from downtown Wichita streets at its snow site yet, but that could change.

A new winter snowfall dropping atop the remnants of last week's storm could have workers loading dump trucks bound for the site at Second and McLean tonight.

The city used to pile excess snow on the west bank of the Arkansas River, but changed that in 1985 because of environmental concerns, then started putting snow on what is now a parking lot for the Intrust Bank Arena.

The current snow site at Second and McLean will be used until a new central library is built on the site, said Joe Pajor, assistant public works director.

The city used the site a couple of times last year, he said.

"If it's more than five or six inches of snow, depending on what kind of snow, we have to load it onto dump trucks and dispose of it there," Pajor said. "That's a lot more work."

The city's downtown snow removal crew usually plows snow to the sides of the streets until sidewalks or streets become impassable. Because of last week's snow, less space is available on the sides for the new snow, Pajor said.

The city couldn't load the trucks last night because the crew had to deal with the snow that was coming down, Pajor said.

The plan was for the crew to plow the streets clear overnight, take 12 hours off, return at 8 p.m. tonight and work until 8 a.m. Thursday loading the trucks and taking them to the snow site, Pajor said.

Other crews from around the city could help the downtown crew if the snow lets up.

The city's budget for snow removal, which includes overtime pay for crews, isn't in peril yet.

The city council raised it from $400,000 to $537,000 last year, and so far the city has spent $82,000, Pajor said.

But the most recent payroll isn't on the books yet, he added.

"We've spent much more than that, but we don't know how much more yet," Pajor said.