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KCMO Public Works assesses 2020-2021 snow season

Comprehensive review anticipated next month
KCMO snowplow training.jpeg
Posted at 6:49 AM, Feb 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-18 08:03:31-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City, Missouri, Public Works is coming out of a stretch of 13 straight days in snow operations.

"It's been a pretty brutal last two weeks," said Maggie Green of Public Works. "What we're dealing with is unprecedented and I think that that is important to note, another thing to keep in mind is every snow season is different."

This particular season, with multiple rounds of accumulating snow and sub-zero temperatures, has presented enormous challenges.

As part of the city's new snow plan, additional drivers were brought in to operate plows, which required hours of training.

"We cross-trained a lot of the trash and recycling truck drivers to also be able to learn how to use the plows. When you're in a snow plow truck there's a little remote that controls the salt spreader, there's a remote that controls the plow in the front and you're driving, so it is kind of a lot to navigate all at the same time," Green said. "Our training took place over the course of a couple of Saturdays, we had some of our veteran snow plow drivers train these trash and recycling truck drivers. All in all, it was close to 100 folks were trained on how to use the plow how to turn it on turn it off, how to use the salt spreader."

32,000 man-hours went into the most recent available data period (Feb. 5-12), with 340 total employees operating 340 trucks in the peak 24-hour time period.

"The main trade-off is snow removal services being a priority, so whenever we have a snowstorm, it's kind of all hands on deck, drivers from solid waste, parks and recreation, KC water, general services, and public works are all involved so they have to stop what they're doing essentially and put that into the snow operations because all of these folks have other day-to-day duties that they do, and for 14 days, 13 days, they haven't been able to do that right because we've been in snow operations."

Assessing trash and recycling pickup will be a key point in the Public Works review of the snow season, anticipated for next month.

Regarding materials used for snow operations, Kansas City Public Works reached a peak of 55,000 tons of salt, topped off a supply of 25,000 gallons of calcium chloride, and more than 2,000 gallons of ice ban, introduced to the supply as part of the new snow plan this year.

"This new snow plan is not about spending a ton more money, but kind of adjusting what we have, for example, looking at the vehicles that we have in our fleet and instead of buying a ton more vehicles we didn't buy any new vehicles this season. Instead, we outfitted existing vehicles so that we would have more that have plows and salt spreaders," Green said.