Those planning to travel during or after a storm should follow these safety tips
• Completely clean frost and snow off all windows, mirrors, and lights, and use headlights to provide optimum visibility.
• Slow down, accelerate and brake gently, and increase following distance between other vehicles.
• Don’t use cruise control.
• Allow for more travel time.
• Always wear a seat belt, and secure children in the proper child safety seats.
• Slow down and move over for stopped emergency vehicles and maintenance crews.
• If possible, remain buckled up and in your vehicle for protection from other vehicles.
• If involved in a crash, or need assistance, call 911, or contact the Kansas Highway Patrol at *47 (*HP) from a cell phone. Call *582 (*KTA) on the Kansas Turnpike.
Winter may arrive this week, according to the National Weather Service. Patchy snow is likely Wednesday morning, made worse by north winds gusting up to 23 miles per hour.
Snowfall amounts are expected to be in the one- to three-inch range. The low temperature Wednesday night could dip down to 8 degrees.
This is why Barton County Road and Bridge Director Dale Phillips told the County Commission Monday morning that his staff have continued their winter preparedness. “The equipment is ready to go,” he said.
Barton County is ready to deploy 14 snow plows (12 outfitted with sand/salt spreaders) and five motor graders into service to move snow, and there will be 25 Road and Bridge Department employees responding to operate skid steers, all-terrain vehicles and front end loaders. There is also 10,000 tons of sand/salt mix ready to be spread on roadways (it takes about 5,000 tons per storm).
Employees from the Noxious Weed Department and the Barton County Landfill will also help manning equipment. Phillips said it is really a team effort.
Phillips is not alone in bracing for the elements. With winter weather in the forecast, Kansas Department of Transportation crews are equipped and ready.
“Every year KDOT has snow fighter training and this year is no different,” said KDOT’s Bureau Chief of Maintenance Clay Adams. “Our crews are ready to respond to whatever winter brings us.”
KDOT has stored 130,000 tons of salt and 60,000 tons of salt/sand mix in preparation for the season and has 1,200 operators who are trained and ready to plow and treat roads.
To make it easier for travelers to know before they go, KDOT’s traveler information website KanDrive has been enhanced. Last year the public asked for camera tours to be added to the site as well as a simplified legend for users. The camera tours option allows users to view multiple images of a highway corridor or region on one screen.
Those improvements, along with the addition of road closure alerts, a dedicated road condition map and a simpler map layout, make the tool easier to use.
“We listened to the user suggestions and made the changes that were most requested,” Adams said. “We know this gives the public the best tool for knowing what is on Kansas’ roads.”
In addition to visiting KanDrive, www.kandrive.org, drivers can obtain route specific road conditions and weather information by calling 5-1-1 within the state or 866-511-5368 from out of state.