Wichita prepares for rain and snow, salts 1,500 miles of city streets ahead of freeze

Salt trucks hit the roads Thursday morning ahead of “uncertain weather conditions,” said Alan King, Wichita’s public works director.

Thursday morning, rain coated Wichita streets with water. Freezing temperatures are expected to hit overnight on Thursday, which could make the roads “very slick,” King said.

King said one of the three different weather models the city uses to predict precipitation shows the Wichita area could get 1 to 3 inches of snow.

To prepare, the city has deployed 60 trucks to dust 1,500 miles of city streets with a light mixture of sand and salt, King said.

If conditions worsen, the light mixture will turn to a “full spread,” King said.

Since it was still raining Thursday, “the sand and salt has a tendency to wash off,” King said. To keep salt and sand on the road, crews began working around the clock, rotating 12 hour shifts until further notice on Thursday, King said.

King said the primary costs associated with salting Wichita’s streets is labor and that the city has a budget to cover the salting roads throughout the year.

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