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Crews race to keep streets clear

By JUDY SHERARD

jsherard@dailynews.net

With temperatures slow to rise, and as much as 6 additional inches of snow possible tonight and Monday, residents might as well get used to driving snow-packed streets.

According to I.D. Creech, Hays public works director, the National Weather Service in Dodge City is forecasting "half the snow and twice the wind" as last week's storm.

The snow coupled with strong winds could create blizzard-like conditions along I-70, Creech said.

The main routes in Hays are open, and a sand and brine mixture, along with some sun, helped loosen the snow and create slush in some areas.

The city isn't planning any snow removal on residential streets, Hays City Manager Toby Dougherty said.

"Most are pretty good with a drivable lane," he said. "We're going to let Mother Nature take its course."

The city's snow removal equipment isn't designed for removing "a big snow in a rapid manner. We have limited equipment for snow removal, and this is a big storm," Creech said.

Employees from the city utilities and parks departments also have pitched in with the storm related work, Dougherty said.

City crews plan to pre-treat the main routes Sunday, "but, without a delivery of additional salt from (our) supplier our stores will be limited," Creech said.

Clean-up of additional snow likely will last into Tuesday.

It's a working weekend for Ellis County Public Works Department employees, as well.

The department is responsible for 1,340 miles of roads, said Mike Graf, Ellis County Public Works director.

With 17-inches of snow already on the ground, Graf said he's "quite sure (crews will) work all weekend."

Their work load started earlier this week with pre-treating followed quickly by snow removal.

Graf said his department isn't large enough to run split shifts, so most work 12 hour shifts starting around 5 a.m.

Crews covered 150 miles of paved roads on Thursday, making at least one pass through the snow covered roads until all of the roads have been opened.

"Even though we've been through making a pass, we go back and widen the cleared area," Graf said.

Blowing and drifting caused some problems for crews.

Having local schools call off classes cuts down on traffic and stranded vehicles, but there still were a few.

"Most people stayed home," Graf said. "We appreciate people doing that."

County crews are responsible also clear the parking lots at the Ellis County Courthouse and other county buildings.

"The biggest challenge has been just the amount of snow, and the time it was spread out," Graf said.