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Opinion

Opinion

Weather ready

Several city initiatives should make driving in Lawrence a little bit easier this winter.

November 16, 2011

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The city of Lawrence may never have been more prepared for a snowstorm than it is today.

The city’s Public Works Department has several programs — from an interactive map of streets that have been plowed to roadway treatments to attack the snow as it falls — ready to go this winter.

This is an improvement and will keep Lawrence motorists more aware of what’s happening on city streets so they can plan their route before leaving home, school or work. Last year the city spent $625,000 during 11 storms that brought a total of 33.8 inches of snow to Lawrence.

A new website, lawrenceks.org/snow, will allow users to see nearly real-time video from six cameras on major roads in the city. The cameras will give people an opportunity to see the condition of various locations along Massachusetts, Vermont, Sixth, 19th, Iowa and 23rd streets. Public works leaders say the number of cameras will expand as the city upgrades its Intelligent Transportation System, which uses cameras to allow traffic engineers to monitor roads to address congestion.

The website also can allow users to see in real-time where snow plows are and show which residential areas already have been plowed.

Meantime, some major city roads — Iowa, Wakarusa Drive, Kasold Drive, Massachusetts, North Second, Sixth, 23rd and 31st streets — will get sprayed by city crews with a saltwater solution before each forecasted winter storm. This brine, which has been used successfully in several cities around the country, makes it more difficult for snow and ice to accumulate on the roads. It’s also expected to be a more effective way of pre-treating streets compared with spreading dry salt and sand on the road.

So, let it snow. The city appears to be prepared for action.

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