Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

City Snow Removal Plan May Clear Roads Faster ; Residential, Secondary Streets Become Priority

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

City Snow Removal Plan May Clear Roads Faster ; Residential, Secondary Streets Become Priority

Article excerpt

A Topeka official expects the city this coming winter will begin clearing residential streets quicker than in the past during times of heavy snow.

The city during past snowfalls of more than 6 inches has first plowed main thoroughfares, then secondary streets, then residential streets, said Ron Raines, superintendent of street maintenance and traffic operations. Raines is responsible for carrying out the city's snow removal plan.

That plan has been revised this year to call for the city to plow secondary and residential streets at the same time, meaning the city will get to the residential streets quicker than in the past, Raines said.

The switch comes after Topekans complained in recent years that the city waited too long to begin clearing residential streets.

Addressing those concerns was the target of a plan unveiled last year by then-public works director Doug Whitacre.

He told city council members the city planned to contract with private snow removal workers, who would begin clearing secondary and residential streets within six hours after the end of each heavy snowfall, as city workers were addressing primary streets.

"We thought a vendor could get into residential areas and start clearing much sooner than our people," Raines recalled Friday.

But he said the city and the contractor never were able to reach an agreement.

The city didn't need the contractor anyhow last winter, as 2 inches was the most snow Topeka had on the ground at any given time.

Last month, council members learned from Whitacre that the contractor had gone out of business. Whitacre left his job with the city this past week to become public works director for the city of Shawnee in Johnson County.

With the city lacking a contractor to quickly plow residential areas, Raines said it revised its snow removal plan. …

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