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Pavement sensors help public works crews strategize for snow removal

pavement sensor.jpg
Posted at 7:04 AM, Jan 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-22 08:04:54-05

OVERLAND PARK, Kan.  — When Jeff Hunt gets into work as a snow boss, or shift captain, for the public works department in Overland Park, Kansas, the first thing he looks at are the road temperatures.

A program called Stormwatch collects real-time temperatures from 23 sensors embedded in the pavement around Johnson County, Kansas.

Hunt wants to know if the road surfaces will be below freezing, making it more likely for accumulation to build. That helps him decide when to start spreading salt and how much to spread.

“It can be snowing, but if our pavement temperatures are 35 degrees and they're not calling for any slickness, then there's no point in us being out there putting [salt down]. We don't want to waste the material that we have,” Hunt explained.

Hunt and his counterparts use data from all over the county to track approaching storms to help predict how their road temperatures will change.

The Stormwatch system contains several other functions including some flood prediction tools. It is available for anyone to view by clicking here.