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Archive for Tuesday, November 3, 2009

City crews prepare for when the snowflakes start to fall

The Lawrence Street division conducted a practice snow removal run on Tuesday, getting plow blades on and snow removal equipment together and then driving on designated routes. Senior maintenance employee Wesley Bulleigh worked on one of the city’s plows during the exercise.

The Lawrence Street division conducted a practice snow removal run on Tuesday, getting plow blades on and snow removal equipment together and then driving on designated routes. Senior maintenance employee Wesley Bulleigh worked on one of the city’s plows during the exercise.

November 3, 2009

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Season for snow plows approaches

City workers prepare for winter snows by getting Lawrence's fleet of snow plows prepared. Enlarge video

Don’t even ask.

Trucks, tractors and other municipal vehicles equipped for plowing snow cannot — repeat cannot — be outfitted to suck up leaves.

“We don’t do that,” said Tom Orzulak, street division manager for the city of Lawrence, with a slight chuckle. “But if I get $2 million I could rig up something.”

So instead, for nearly nine hours Tuesday, Orzulak’s crews spread out on 16 familiar routes to traverse Lawrence’s network of 805 lane miles to practice what they’re capable of, responsible for and familiar with: keeping the city’s streets clear of ice and snow.

And in this dry run, no leaf was left unturned.

“I made a couple mistakes on the plan, but that happens,” Orzulak said. “That’s why we have practice. There’s just a couple of word things I need to get changed, that were confusing.”

What hasn’t changed is the city’s level of commitment to clearing ice and snow, he said. Even as the city faces tight budgets and rising demands for resources, officials have not cut financing from snow removal.

The city even has stockpiled some 7,500 tons of salt and sand, much of it purchased this summer for potential use this winter. Another 1,000 tons of salt awaits on order, if necessary.

Last winter crews dropped 3,000 tons of salt and 4,500 tons of sand on streets and at Lawrence Municipal Airport.

“We’ve cut back other places and kept the snow removal,” Orzulak said. “That’s at the top of the list — all the emergency stuff. When we did the budget, we budgeted for all the emergency stuff first. …

“If it snows, we’re going to be here.”

In all, the street division’s 40 employees participated in Tuesday’s practice runs. The goal was to be sure all employees would be familiar with their particular snow-removal responsibilities, and to ensure that their equipment would be functional and ready to go at a moment’s notice.

This year’s snow-removal plan includes only three new or extended sections of public streets, Orzulak said: Champion Lane and an adjacent roadway in the Bauer Farms project, northeast of Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive; and Franklin Road, between O’Connell Road and the Douglas County Jail. Reconstruction of the intersection of North Second and Locust streets in North Lawrence did require some adjustments to one route.

But the overall plan still holds, he said: The city’s major roads — such as Haskell Avenue and Iowa, 23rd and North Second streets — get cleared first, followed by roads with schools on them and then residential streets.

Comments

Flap Doodle 5 years, 1 month ago

No man, we got that global warming thing going on. There can't be snowflakes........

Harpo 5 years, 1 month ago

Crap, I only read the headline and not the article. Now I'm out $79.57, and have 3 bags of flour and a month's supply of powdered milk and canned goods to figure out what to do with.

Danielle Brunin 5 years, 1 month ago

Donate them to the food pantry. ;) Har, har...

somebodynew 5 years, 1 month ago

I am not quite sure they need practice. How hard is it to drive around and not scrape snow until after it stops snowing and is by then so packed down the plows don't do much anyhow??? And to wait until downtown is covered and plow it into the middle of the streets, so that dump trucks can eventually haul it away.

leedavid 4 years, 11 months ago

Apparently that practice thing did not work out so well. We are still waiting for someone to comeby just once and clear the streets out in front of the house. This is over two days after the main storm fell.

More practice must be needed.

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