Archive for Monday, January 4, 2010

City crews working to get snow off streets before next wave of winter weather on Wednesday

Tom Goetz helps his mother, Moesy Goetz, both of Lawrence, cross a slushy Massachusetts Street near Eighth Street on Sunday.

Tom Goetz helps his mother, Moesy Goetz, both of Lawrence, cross a slushy Massachusetts Street near Eighth Street on Sunday.

January 4, 2010


Crews deal with difficulties, frustrations

Clearing Lawrence roads with people parked in the streets is not the easiest task. City crews have faced many frustrations in trying to keep the roads clear while preparing for even more snow. Enlarge video

Lawrence’s entire roster of Street Division personnel will continue dumping sand, spreading salt and scraping blades Tuesday on city streets.

Then the 40 employees will go back on special shifts Wednesday — 12 hours on, 12 hours off — to battle the next snowstorm, expected to be the fourth “gift” of frozen precipitation dropped on the area since Christmas Eve.

“It’s going to be beautiful next week,” said Tom Orzulak, the division’s manager, as crews mixed salt and sand outside his office at 11th Street and Haskell Avenue. “Then all this will just be a bad memory.”

In the meantime, Lawrence residents, business owners and others will continue grappling with the recurring nightmare — “It’s like ‘Groundhog Day,’ with the same thing over and over and over,” Orzulak says — that has endured into the new year: untimely snowfall, plummeting temperatures and mounting complaints about slippery conditions that can slow or impede safe travel.

Orzulak understands the inevitable criticism. He knows people want their roads cleared, even before snow stops falling. And they certainly don’t like to see it remain, especially the first stuff that fell even before Santa had managed to take to the sky in his sleigh.

So the city’s crews will be out in force Tuesday, trying to crack through some of the ice that has been packed onto neighborhood streets since the holiday.

But be warned. While crews have hit every street in town multiple times — armed with salt, sand and snowplows — some areas remain far from acceptable, Orzulak said, because of the simple realities of city living.

“There are still places where we have cars parked side by side,” he said. “We can’t even get a truck past them.”

But they’ll keep at it. Crews were at full strength through the Christmas holiday weekend, Orzulak said, and workers will continue to report for duty as directed.

“There isn’t a street in this town that doesn’t need more work,” Orzulak said.

With the temperature expected to creep above 30 degrees next week, he said, melting should help shoulder much of the workload.

“Then we’ll be worried about the river flooding,” he said, with a chuckle.


unelectable 8 years, 2 months ago

it's the little things that reassure me that i'm one of the best people in the entire world if not the the universe. Thanks for realizing how impressive i am.

Maybe the jay-dub could hire me to proof read stuff... ... but they most likely already have someone for that. Or do they?

Shelbyrules 8 years, 2 months ago

I know that many residents may have complaints about snow removal. However, after spending an evening driving in KCMO last weekend, our streets are in much better shape. Many of the side streets had not seen a plow from the snow on Christmas.

BigPrune 8 years, 2 months ago

All this gobal warming is freezing my ass off.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 2 months ago

it too cold and going to be worse tom. and thursday yuck yuck yuck.

middlemgmt 8 years, 2 months ago

How much snow are we going to get on Wednesday?

mfagan 8 years, 2 months ago

Just a quick note: In this story I mention that workers will be going on "special shifts" -- "12 hours on, 12 hours off" -- to handle the next snow. Please note that this line could be taken as only half of the story. And rest assured that the city's streets won't be without clearing crews for half of the time. The city's Street Division essentially splits its employee roster in two, with half of employees working for 12 hours, then going off duty while the other half work for the next 12 hours. That way, snow-clearing operations remain ongoing, 24 hours a day, until a decision is made to return to "normal" work schedules. Just something to remember as more snow approaches... Mark Fagan Transportation reporter

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 2 months ago

this person wants to know how much snow and a time frame wedensday a busy day for us.

Take_a_letter_Maria 8 years, 2 months ago

As cheeseburger said, we understand the 12/12 coverage.

We also understand that pushing snow is hard work on both the worker and the equipment. What we don't understand is the reasoning behind trying to move 6-10 inches of snow at one time instead of moving it in smaller increments when possible. I know that my back doesn't hurt quite as much shoveling an inch or two at a time three or four times instead of trying to do it all once the snow has stopped. We don't understand the reasoning behind throwing corrosives onto the roadway to melt snow which effectively creates a slush that then will re-freeze into ruts making the streets even more difficult to navigate instead of removing the snow. We don't understand why tickets aren't issued and vehicles towed when they have obviously been parked on city streets longer than the 48 hours allowed thus further complicating the plowing process. We don't understand why, when they do plow, the city doesn't plow in such a manner on it's one way streets so that it's throw goes in the direction of the curb opposite of where the cars are legally parked thus creating an even greater hazard on those streets.

I could go on for longer, but my lunch break is over and I'm running out of room. Why don't you check into some of things cheeseburger brought up though as well as these concerns Mark?

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 2 months ago

never mind my qestion already got an answer. yuck just yuck

Mel Briscoe 8 years, 2 months ago

old man winter sucks serious moose booboo.

cowboy 8 years, 2 months ago

"But be warned. While crews have hit every street in town multiple times — armed with salt, sand and snowplows — some areas remain far from acceptable, Orzulak said, because of the simple realities of city living."

Ya gotta move it when its fluffy boys ! It's a lot easier. Waiting for four days to clean a street makes it impossible.

Kash_Encarri 8 years, 2 months ago

“But be warned. While crews have hit every street in town multiple times — armed with salt, sand and snowplows — some areas remain far from acceptable, Orzulak said, because of the simple realities of city living.”

Not every street Tom. My street has seen a plow exactly one time and that was between 2:30 and 3:00 pm on the Sunday after Christmas. The garbage truck is the only other city truck to visit my street since the snow started to fall.

kaderast 8 years, 2 months ago

You people are ridiculous. As a former Kansan that now lives in Montana, an area that sees around 300" of snow each year in town, our streets are snowpacked from Nov-April unless the sun manages to come out. This is in an area that has more plows and plow operators per capita that anywhere in the country. It is impossible to cover every street in town the second the snow hits the pavement. Once it gets driven over a few times of course it packs down and then no plow on earth can bust it off the road until it warms.

Lawrence obviously doesn't get quite as much snowfall as we do, and hence it would be stupid of them to maintain a fleet of hundreds of plows to hit streets a few times a year. I'm sure they are doing the absolute best they can within a limited number of plows/operators and budgets.

I'm also sure the city of Lawrence is already dead broke trying to keep up with your snowfall, if they even attempted to meet the demands of you whiners then they'd have to raise your taxes some more.....

Melissa Sigler 8 years, 2 months ago

While it is unfortunate that more trucks and manpower would require more money, aka taxes (which everyone would then bitch about if raised)...there has to be a better solution to this.

The management of this blows. You take one foot out of douglas county and the roads are completely clear and dry, while we are still slipping and sliding all over the place on inches of packed snow that has melted and refrozen for a week. I did not see ONE city snow plow over christmas, not one, then drove a little bit into joco and saw one every half mile. Their team could have covered their county, douglas, and every private owned street in both before ours covered Iowa and 23rd.

I havent heard of the three inch rule, someone enlighten me? afraid of ruining our already-crap roads?

Whatever this sad excuse for city management is doing isnt working...time to find another way.

hail2oldku 8 years, 2 months ago

"As a former Kansan that now lives in Montana, an area that sees around 300” of snow each year in town"

I'll call BS on you here kaderast since the highest recorded for a season in Montana is only 346" and the average in Butte is 50" and West Galcier is only 138".

Nobody is asking for them to remove every flake of snow immediately. It would be nice for them to get out and drop the blades without waiting for three inches of accumulation which then becomes the packed crap that nothing short of a Kansas July could melt.

Liberty275 8 years, 2 months ago

You people need to buy a 4wd or an AWD. If I was obama, I'd mandate that everyone have one.

calvin 8 years, 2 months ago

mdsigler- Not sure where in JoCo you were, but I live in JoCo and our road still has not been plowed either. I just drive slower and get around fine. Every watch the news? The streets in KCMO were never plowed at all. Don't complain so much.

The 3 in rule is standard in this part of the country. It is a waste of money (manpower, salt/sand, trucks etc) to plow less than three inches.

angelmom 8 years, 2 months ago

I have just a few things to say to: cowboy....Do you think you can do a better job? to: mdsigler....I know for a fact that the street crews were out on Christmas, infact they started on Christmas eve and worked for 4 days and nights straight. to: kaderast...I couldn't agree more. Stop whinning. Eudora street are snow packed because they didn't want to pay their employees over time.

kaderast 8 years, 2 months ago

to hail2oldku: The "town" of Big Sky is not technically incorporated and therefore probably won't show up in any historical records. The ski resort posts over 400" annually and down in town we get somewhat less than that...

Another point about your side streets in town: most of the crews are likely spending a significant amount of time clearing the main roads, highways, etc to keep them passable during a storm, and therefore don't obviously have a chance to get to sidestreets for days, after that of course they really don't clear well anyway and most of the cars parked all over hell make it impossible. Better to keep the main roads flowing for a few ten thousand people than to have a few dozen folks be able to get out of their neighborhood. As I stated earlier, with more trucks and more staff I'm sure the city could clear the sidestreets faster and therefore more effectively, but for a place that only gets a few snows a year it isn't really feasible.

Orwell 8 years, 2 months ago

They got down to asphalt on my residential street this morning – and a John Deere with a blade came right behind the Big Guy, clearing away the wall of frozen gunk he had just left at the end of my drive. Well done.

cowboy 8 years, 2 months ago

angelmom , I am 100% sure i could do a better job managing snow removal. A. start during the storm , you waste at least 480 hours per day waiting for the storm to end assuming we have 40 staff working on this in a 24 hour period . B. Equip many of the fancy 4wd vehicles the city owns to plow side streets , a plow setup can be bought for a bit over a thousand dollars. double your manpower ! the big trucks are not very good at the smaller side streets anyway. C. Hire subs to do the neighborhoods , plan this during the summer months and line up a pool of subcontractors. Most of us construction folks are just sitting around gaining weight right now and would relish a winter income . Why spend all of the OT dollars when you can sub out the overflow. D. Plow the neighbor hood streets during the day when most are at work , why come thru at night when all the cars are parked out front of the homes. E. Plow it when its fluffy , less fuel needed , easier on equipment.

Yes i could damn sure do a better job !

kujhawk 8 years, 2 months ago

Cowboy are you a commissioner in disguise?

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