Lawrence street maintenance crews are expected to soon run out of road salt to treat city streets, which means that some streets will be in snow-packed conditions longer than normal.
Dena Mezger, the city's assistant director of public works, said crews are expected to run out of salt by Thursday, leaving only sand available to treat the roads.
"We can get plenty of sand, and it churns up the snow, but it doesn't melt it," Mezger said.
That will make the city's street plowing operations more critical, Mezger said. She said crews started major plowing operations at 2 a.m. Wednesday, but a significant amount of snow fell after plowing began. She said that required the city to replow the major city streets, which means it will take longer for crews to get to residential streets.
She said the lack of salt will make it particularly difficult to clear those residential streets. That's because the residential streets become heavily packed, and the salt is used to help make plowing more effective.
"The snow pack in the neighborhoods may be worse than we would like," Mezger said.
Mezger said the city has 500 tons of road salt on order. It was scheduled to be delivered today, but that is now unlikely. Mezger is not sure when, or if, the city will get another shipment of salt.
"I think it is an iffy proposition because everybody is waiting on salt," Mezger said. "They just can't keep up with the orders."
City street crews have been treating streets since 8 p.m. Tuesday, Lawrence street maintenance director Tom Orzulak said. He expected work to continue for the next 30 hours.
Orzulak said the city's main streets are in fair condition, and residential streets are in poor condition.
Blowing snow because of wind gusts up to 25 mph wasn't helping matters, and at 11 a.m. the temperature at Lawrence Municipal Airport was 23 degrees.
From 7 p.m. Tuesday to 8 a.m. today Lawrence police responded to 13 non-injury accidents and two minor injury accidents, a spokeswoman said. Officers also received 17 calls for motorist assistance.
Douglas County Sheriff's officers investigated two vehicle collisions and received 17 reports of vehicles sliding into ditches. There have been no injuries, Lt. Kari Wempe said.
Downtown Lawrence received 5 inches of snow, 6News meteorologist Matt Elwell said. Areas in western Lawrence saw higher amounts, he said.
The snow caused several local and area schools to cancel classes today, including Lawrence public schools, Kansas University and Haskell Indian Nations University.