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Examiner
  • White out!

  • Eastern Jackson County’s drought has ended – well, for one day, at least.


    A winter storm Thursday that dumped close to a foot of snow on the area is the reason for that.

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  • Eastern Jackson County’s drought has ended – well, for one day, at least.
    A winter storm Thursday that dumped close to a foot of snow on the area is the reason for that.
    Independence Public Works crews began pre-treating streets at 8 p.m. Wednesday with a 50-50 mix of sand and salt. Although several inches of snow fell within just a few hours Thursday morning, that pre-treatment helps prevent the snow and ice from bonding to asphalt, in turn making it easier for the trucks to remove snow once it’s fallen, Public Works Director John Powell said.
    “We were ready to work on the first priority streets when the snow started (Thursday) morning,” Powell said. “Trucks and drivers were all ready since this was forecast ahead of time. It was just a matter of being out and being able to work when the snow was coming down really hard.”
    Public Works had plenty of sand and salt on hand for the snowstorm, Powell said, since the amount of snow in Independence fell below average during the 2011-12 winter season. This winter’s first significant snow took place on Dec. 20, but accumulations were nowhere near what fell in a matter of hours on Thursday morning and early afternoon.
    “It’s been busy,” Powell said early Thursday afternoon. “We've got a lot going on today.”
    Independence crews are responsible for about 570 miles of streets. Removal takes place based on city-assigned priority ratings, beginning with arterial streets, those that carry the most traffic, and then moving to collector streets; hills and intersections; and lastly, residential areas.
    Twenty Public Works trucks are on the streets at any given moment, removing snow in 12-hour shifts with changeovers at 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
    The Missouri Department of Transportation is responsible for about 100 miles of streets in Independence, including U.S. 24 and 40, Interstate 70, Missouri 7 and 291 and a portion of Truman Road.
    “Visibility is extremely difficult, making it tough to see the roadways,” the Independence Police Department posted on its Twitter account Thursday morning. “City and state crews are doing all they can, but (it’s) tough to keep up.”
    By late Thursday morning, Missouri 291 was closed in both directions between 32nd Street and Interstate 70, with Independence Police reporting several vehicles abandoned and stuck on northbound Missouri 291.
    "No roads are closed, but roadway conditions are poor," the Police Department posted on Twitter Thursday afternoon. "Side streets are particularly bad, with cars caught in snow drifts. Also, many abandoned cars (are) stuck around town."
    Police also asked that all non-emergency vehicle crashes be reported at the Independence Police Department’s front desk when it was safe to do so.
    “We appreciate people staying home if possible and not parking on the streets so we can clear them,” Powell said. “It allows us, police and fire to best do our jobs.”
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