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Kansas working to stay ahead of Halloween snowstorm

KDOT October snow.JPG
Posted at 10:34 PM, Oct 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-30 23:34:37-04

JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. — Crews with the Kansas Department of Transportation are treating bridges and overpasses Wednesday night as a rare October snowstorm moves in.

"It’s just another snowstorm," Drake Jennings, area superintendent for KDOT told 41 Action News.

While its timing is earlier than usual, KDOT is ready for whatever the storm brings to the Kansas City metropolitan area.

"If and when the bridges and roads start to freeze up, we will treat as needed to get it melted off," Jennings said.

KDOT’s plan of attack for the KC metro includes 25 crew members, more than two dozen trucks and 100 tons of rock salt.

"If we had a choice, we would take snow any day,” Jennings said. “Snow is just easier to melt and remove from the roadway. Ice always gives us a bit of an issue trying to get it off the road.”

As KDOT works to keep roadways clear, the Kansas Highway Patrol's motorist assist team is helping drivers in precarious situations. Those drivers will most likely encounter Kyle Misenhelter, one of the team's technicians.

"I usually cover around the 435 loop during rush hour, Misenhelter said.

In this weather, he said, slide-offs are common.

"Slick, slick. No matter what you’re on, if you don’t have traction on your tires you’re going lose control,” Misenhelter said, “and if you’re too close to the vehicle in front of you, you’re more than likely are going to cause an accident [and] not only ruin your day, but ruin someone else’s day.”

As rush hour wrapped up Wednesday, Misenhelter received a call to assist with a rollover on Interstate 35 in Edgerton.

"We believe it could’ve happened because the driver was going too fast for conditions," Misenhelter said.

The driver made it out of vehicle without serious injuries. The incident is a reminder that any precipitation in these temperatures can be dangerous.

"It’s a quick weather change,” Misenhelter said. “Obviously, we just passed over a bridge back over here, so maybe the bridge is a bit icy. We do have KDOT en route to put down some salt to hopefully melt that up.”

The plan is to have crews work 12-hour shifts to keep roads safe for the morning rush. KDOT wants remind drivers, as always, to give them space to get their job done.