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Archive for Friday, February 22, 2013

Mail deliveries interrupted by snow; normal schedule should return Saturday

February 22, 2013, 10:09 a.m. Updated February 22, 2013, 7:51 p.m.

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The snowfall has largely put U.S. Postal Service mail delivery on hold for the area, likely until Saturday, Lawrence postmaster Judy Raney said.

Postal workers attempted to deliver mail Thursday, Raney said, and a few streets that had been plowed received deliveries. But most routes weren't completed.

"Everybody just got stuck," Raney said.

A city worker plows snow in downtown Lawrence early this morning.

A city worker plows snow in downtown Lawrence early this morning.

City Snow Ordinance

The city will begin writing tickets for snow-covered sidewalks at 8 a.m. Monday, according to a city press release. Here's a reminder about the rules:

• Property owners are required to clear sidewalks of snow within 48 hours of the end of a snowfall.

• If more snow falls this weekend, the Monday deadline may be changed.

• The city may issue a $20 fine, plus court costs, to owners failing to clear sidewalks immediately adjacent to their property.

• The ordinance applies to residential and business properties.

• City officials say that, considering the large quantities of snow involved, a property owner will not be fined if an attempt has been made to clear the sidewalk.

• The city does not actively patrol for violations, but residents may file a complaint about a sidewalk online or by phone, 785-832-7700.

Staying on the road

• Turn your headlights on, and turn your cruise control off.

• Maintain a safe distance from vehicles ahead in traffic, especially slow-moving snow plows.

• Clear snow off the hood and roof of your vehicle before driving to avoid creating a distraction to other drivers.

— Source: Kansas Department of Transportation

Friday, she said, workers were making deliveries mostly on schedule. But now there's a new problem: Post offices in the Kansas City area received little mail for Friday, because offices weren't able to send anything to the Kansas City, Mo., sorting plant on Thursday.

"Essentially, we received no mail," Raney said.

The regular flow of mail won't resume until Saturday, she said, when all steps in the pipeline will have returned to normal.

"Everything should catch up in that timeframe," the postmaster said.

Making progress

City street-plowing crews moved onto residential streets Friday, city of Lawrence spokeswoman Megan Gilliland said, with about 24 more hours of work likely ahead of them before they’re finished.

The crews are focusing first on hilly neighborhoods, Gilliland said, and they were to move into flatter areas as the day progressed.

“They’re still on their 12-hour shifts, 24 hours a day,” she said.

Their first focus on Thursday, as in any winter storm, was clearing main streets, she said. But as snow continued throughout the day and piled up to nearly 11 inches total, crews had to make repeated passes to clear what the city calls “collectors and arterials.”

“That is an awful lot of snow to plow out of the way,” Gilliland said.

Crews will continue to work constantly through Saturday, she said, finishing up plowing, hauling off snow in neighborhoods and cleaning up.

But their work won’t be over: They’ll be back Sunday to prepare for another possible snowstorm forecast for Monday.

Roads will continue to be hazardous even as snow plows clear them, said Kansas Department of Transportation spokeswoman Kimberly Qualls. Snow is likely to remain piled in narrow areas such as ramps, interchanges, flyovers and bridges, and stalled vehicles may make such areas even worse, blocking traffic and snow plows.

This weekend, ice is likely to thaw and refreeze, Qualls said, making black ice a particular danger at night.

This week's storm also slowed the city’s waste pickup for residents whose trash day is Thursday.

Workers were able to complete about 50 percent of their Thursday trash routes before the weather became too severe, Gilliland said. Crews went back out during the day Friday, as road conditions allowed, to pick up the rest.

On other roads

Most roads around Lawrence remained snowpacked Friday morning, but improved throughout the day, said KDOT spokeswoman Kimberly Qualls. A KDOT map updated at about 11 a.m. showed the Kansas Turnpike partly snowpacked and icy, from Lawrence to Kansas City. It showed the turnpike mostly clear from Lawrence to Topeka.

Around Lawrence, roads were mostly, "slushy," according to the KDOT map. Kansas Highway 10 was listed as partly slushy, but many drivers said they found it clear and easy to drive Friday afternoon. Snow was largely cleared from U.S. Highways 59, 24 and 40, and Kansas Highway 16, though the map showed some slush remained on those, too.

Snow was also cleared from other roads, including Interstate 35 and U.S. Highway 69 in Johnson County, which still retained some slush they approach Kansas City, according to the map. In many places, snow plows continued to meet obstacles in stalled and abandoned vehicles, Qualls said.

Take it slow

Police and fire department officials have said the toll of Thursday's storm was not been as bad as some had feared.

There were no fires, said Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical Chief Mark Bradford, except for two car fires Thursday afternoon. And medical emergency staff have not been called to any serious medical emergencies related to the storm.

But, Bradford said, he suspects the fire department's services may be needed more as people continue to deal with the storm's aftermath. His advice to people digging their way out of the snow: shovel in stages, and take breaks to recover.

Drivers in Lawrence continued to get stuck in the snow and ice, and police responded to several stranded motorists and one non-injury accident Friday morning. Since Thursday morning, police have responded to one minor-injury accident, 90 motorists in need of assistance and nine non-injury accidents, said Sgt. Trent McKinley, a Lawrence Police Department spokesman.

There were so many motorists sliding off of roads and finding their cars buried in snow that tow truck companies could hardly keep up. At Quality Towing and Recovery, 529 Maple St., the phone rang off the hook all day Thursday and calls continued to come in Friday, said dispatcher Mindy Schall. Even the tow trucks became stuck at times, so employees brought in their own four-wheel drive vehicles for support.

"We were trying to help everybody out and keep ourselves rolling at the same time," Schall said.

Like Bradford, McKinley said he expects more accidents and incidents Friday. Many fender-benders from Thursday may still be reported to police, he said, and drivers may be tempted to go faster as residential streets are cleared. McKinley said people should remember that speed limits are meant for ideal conditions, and seat belts are as important in snow conditions as ever.

Douglas County sheriff's deputies responded to more than a dozen slide-offs and stranded motorists on Thursday, said Sgt. Steve Lewis, a Douglas County Sheriff's Office spokesman, but no injury accidents. On Friday, Lewis said, the county saw many fewer such incidents.

Across the state, highway troopers responded to 1,454 stranded motorists and abandoned vehicles Thursday, according to the Kansas Highway Patrol. Troopers also responded to 15 injury accidents, none of them fatal, and and 15 injury accidents, none of them fatal, according to the Kansas Highway Patrol. Troopers responded to 106 no 106 non-injury crashes.

County roads returning to normal

Most county roads in Douglas County have been cleared of snow. But officials say their work is not over, and there may be more snow on its way early next week.

"There's still quite a bit of work to do, Douglas County Public Works Director Keith Browning said. "We still need to push snow back from the edge of the roads. Gravel routes still need quite a bit of work. Those were opened up late (Thursday) afternoon, and they're still pretty narrow. But the paved county roads are in pretty good shape."

Browning said road crews began working in alternating 12-hour shifts at 7 p.m. Wednesday, which turned out to be several hours before the heaviest part of the storm hit the area. Their first priority was to clear the roadways themselves to make them passable. Next they'll go through to push the snow farther off the side of the roads so they can drain, preventing the melted snow from freezing into a sheet of ice.

"One of the issues that's always a concern is a refreeze of the roads," Browning said. "We're trying to get them drained on the sides so they don't refreeze at night."

Douglas County Administrator Craig Weinaug said residents of rural Douglas County may encounter different conditions on their local township roads, which are maintained separately by the township governments.

County roads are designated with "Route" numbers and are marked with blue pentagon-shaped signs. Most county roads are paved, he said.

Most township roads are gravel and are designated with directions and numbers, such as North 1400 Road, or East 350 Road.

Weinaug said the level of road maintenance provided by township governments varies throughout the county. Some townships have only a single part-time employee to plow roads after a snow storm.

Douglas County maintains about 203 miles of county roads, measured by the center line of the roads, Browning said. That works out to more than 400 lane-miles of roadway.

Browning said maintenance crews used 14 vehicles of various types and sizes to clear the roads.

The National Weather Service is predicting a 60 percent chance of light rain or snow in Douglas County starting Sunday night and continuing through Monday.

Peter Hancock contributed to this story.

Comments

UneasyRider 1 year, 1 month ago

Amazed at number of armchair snow removal experts on this forum. How many of them have ever been involved in snow removal and plowing? How many have been letter carriers under these conditions? How many of them really know what their talking about?

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Alceste 1 year, 1 month ago

What happened to "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."?

Lawrence has seen many a snowfall far greater than this most recent, actually pretty puny, one.

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scott_webb 1 year, 1 month ago

I couldn't care less about the mail being delayed a day. But the city has it's priorities screwed up. I had my driveway, sidewalks, and those of my neighbors cleaned w/in an hour of both snows. The city hasn't still hasn't cleared my street and it's Saturday! They've spent hundreds of man hours picking up piles of snow where the streets are already cleared. If they eventually do plow my street, they'll leave an impassable pile of chunks of frozen snow and ice in front of my driveway. A snow shovel is useless against that; a heavier metal round-tip shovel or a grain scoop shovel must be used to dig out these piles. I'd love to know who's in charge of this debacle and his/her explanation.

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reality_check79 1 year, 1 month ago

Any of you complaining about mail or UPS, fed ex, or the roads need to shut up!!!! 11 inches in 6 hours is a ton of snow!!! If you failed to plan ahead, go to the store, or make preparations it is your own fault!!! Shut up!!! If you have the internet, have time to complain, you have time to get off your butt and shovel a little snow!!! I did!!!

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kernal 1 year, 1 month ago

There were no power outages, no one's home was washed away, no raging fires, no nuclear meltdown down the road and no meteor breaking through the atmosphere over Lawrence. I'd say it's been a pretty darn good couple of days!

Now all we have to do is get all the streets and sidewalks cleared before Rocky begins to move in Sunday night.

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kab123 1 year, 1 month ago

Please try and do streets west of Monterey so at least we can get to our homes....in our out thank you

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JJE007 1 year, 1 month ago

Except for the fact that the city treats downtown merchants like Gods, I have no problem with the response to these unusual, weather-related road conditions. That's only because I didn't have to go to work on Thursday or Friday, of course.

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UneasyRider 1 year, 1 month ago

Seems that the whiners hate to pay taxes, but demand outstanding service for everything. Do they lack simple understanding that they refuse to pay for any possible imaginable situation. Very unusual snowfall. who cares, streets should be clear in 12 hours. Mail didn;t get delivered, garbage trucks didn't get out, who cares. They demand instant service, cost be damned, workers safety be damned, I want it now, but I won't pay for it.

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amrcngrl75 1 year, 1 month ago

Exactly! This includes me! Have a great weekend!

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moonlite318 1 year, 1 month ago

Well amrcngtl75 as I push on your name and check out your history coments, remember want you said in a coment...Freedom of speech.

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George_Braziller 1 year, 1 month ago

Plows finally arrived. Two pushed the snow to the side of the street where there's no parking, then the big one came through and mounded it up around the vehicles parked on the other side. Happens every time it snows.

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cowboy 1 year, 1 month ago

The city just plainly does not have enough equipment or manpower to deal with snow removal. The bad thing is that snow is alot easier to work when fresh. Now all the neighborhood streets are packed making the cleanup more difficult.

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amrcngrl75 1 year, 1 month ago

For all of the people complaining-How about instead of being part of the problem, try being part of the solution? Step 1: Stop complaining. Step 2: Get out from behind your computer screen. Step 3: Put the energy you are using to whine into making a difference for your neighborhood-get a shovel and get busy! Thanks to all of the those spending their time serving our community during the storm and clean up! And, thanks to your families of whom I'm sure you've not seen much of during the past 24-48 hours! A lot of us appreciate your efforts and understand things take time. Much love to all of the City, State, KDEM, KSNG, and First Responders out there making a difference!

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danoatku 1 year, 1 month ago

I have never lived in a City will such poor snow removal capabilities. It was easy to determine where the City Limits were this morning. Douglas County roads and shoulders were clear and snow free. The City roads a few feet away were snow packed. Our street in West Lawrence did not see a snow plow until 330 this afternoon. I agree why are you wasting time loading snow downtown when people are still unable to get out of their neighborhood? Put a plow on those trucks and get the streets cleared!

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moonlite318 1 year, 1 month ago

Oh I do see the hard work and hrs beening awake. Its not the workers thumbs up to them. I just didnt like the lie way up the page. Have a nice evening.

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moonlite318 1 year, 1 month ago

This is the first time they did the valley and steep hill the day after the storm in 12 yrs. And the one up the page we did our side walk and drive way right after the storm. And some people cant go out there and do the streets. Did you do your own? Or do you own a 4x4? Want upsets me is someone gets on this page and says the city is doing hilly streets first this morning. That was a lie, freinds called and told us they did there unhilly street. Dont LIE....

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killjoy 1 year, 1 month ago

Haven't seen any plows West of Monterey Way except on the main arteries. I did see that they decided to have multiple crews cleaning up the snow in the middle of the streets downtown, during the day. That's just a poor management decision. Clear the streets first, then go back and do the clean up. The downtown streets are already passable. Let the night crews clean that up when traffic is absent. Also had the observer truck blocking through-traffic at intersections. Made absolutely no sense; block it where they're working is fine, but not the entire intersections. Some of these employees need training before they are given a vehicles and make the traffic situation worse. The streets that have been cleared thanks to the Sun and the pre-treatment.

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1 year, 1 month ago

I want the thank the city crews for getting to our street in a speedy manor. The gentleman driving the grader did an excellant job cleaning the 2500 block of Ponderosa Dr. Thanks again.

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Clark Coan 1 year, 1 month ago

"Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail shall keep the postmen from their appointed rounds". Although this isn't the official motto, it tended to be an unofficial one. Yesterday was the first time they hadn't deliver in Lawrence in at least two decades.

BTW, CBS News last night showed a photo of a stuck fire truck in Lawrence and a bus in KCMO.

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Jamea CallsHim 1 year, 1 month ago

Am I the only one who considers that the men and women doing the plowing have been at this for over a day now?! It takes time to get the job done, so give it to them! They deserve breaks! There was a lot of snow yesterday and then they have everyone pestering them to get the job done quickly. If you want them to plow your streets that quickly then it will NOT be perfect. Get a shovel and dig out your driveways and sidewalks. How about you do it in the amount of time that you expect them to clear every road in town!

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skinny 1 year, 1 month ago

Everyone always expecting others to do their duty work! Nobody owes you nothing! IF you don't like waiting on the City get out there and clear the street off yourself!! That's what we did!

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elliottaw 1 year, 1 month ago

West lawrence has not seen the plows yet, most of the roads around Langston Hughes are still snow covered, and will probably stay that way

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bevy 1 year, 1 month ago

So when do the sidewalk shoveling ticketers start making their rounds? So glad I don't live in Lawrence. My worst problem is the city guy in my little town plowed me in. So I either shovel 4' of snow out of the end of my driveway, or wait for spring thaw!

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Bigdog66046 1 year, 1 month ago

well they plowed my street and left a 4 1/2 foot wide by 27" deep hard packed pile of snow clear across my driveway. Road will be great to drive on once i can finally dig out. I live on corner and they made several passes clearing the curve and put all the snow into my driveway, not street or grass. Not fun!

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Cant_have_it_both_ways 1 year, 1 month ago

I must not have a city commissioner living on my block either.

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moonlite318 1 year, 1 month ago

Its sad, that you have to begg, but when they put on here they are working on hilly areas first, and you find out they did maple lane off 19th and that is not hilly, thats a lie. They need to just tell the truth, this is a public net work place....gees

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gatekeeper 1 year, 1 month ago

You can track the plows online (they have GPS hooked to them). Funny, most of them show they're just sitting at the lot at 11th & Haskell instead of being out on the road. There's a few more than an hour ago (only about 5 out then, now up to 8 working).

Why aren't all plows out instead of sitting on Haskell?

http://lawrenceks.maps.arcgis.com/apps/OnePane/basicviewer/index.html?appid=42ed4aaea65c40438c92f98846cd607d

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lcchain 1 year, 1 month ago

thank you for clearing the roads and making travel possible agaiN! yaya

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fourkitties 1 year, 1 month ago

They always forget the 2200 block of Pennsylvania the entire block has to complain before they will come plow it. The last time it snowed this much, they plain said 'No' to our multiple requests to come plow the street.

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moonlite318 1 year, 1 month ago

They are not fousing on hilly streets first. Friends told us maple lane off 19th in done its not hilly or a valley. 17th street is a valley and lindenwood lane is a steep hill and they are the only to streets into this addition.

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Currahee 1 year, 1 month ago

The city roads were kind of bad this morning but manageable. I was really impressed going on I70, the roads were pretty much clear.

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irvan moore 1 year, 1 month ago

my street got cleared about 11am, good job guys

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valgrlku 1 year, 1 month ago

Did the post office change its policy, in relation to delivery during a storm? Our mail lady was a no-show (no tracks up to our building from the sidewalk), but I wonder if they're allowed to skip your address if the walkway hasn't been shoveled? It's all shoveled now. :-) My dad delivered mail for many decades and never missed a day due to weather.

Anyone know if the mail was being delivered yesterday? Also received a delivery alert for UPS, but that didn't arrive either. Not a huge deal, but I was wondering about policies.

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Bob Forer 1 year, 1 month ago

Props to the sanitation and streets crews who have been busting their butts in this miserable weather. A big thank you.!!!!

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