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Examiner
  • Area braces for winter's Round 2

  • Here we go again.



    By noon Monday, Independence Public Works crews were already pre-treating streets prior to the snowstorm – the second of its kind for Eastern Jackson County in less than a week – expected late Monday night and early this morning.

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  • Here we go again.
    By noon Monday, Independence Public Works crews were already pre-treating streets prior to the snowstorm – the second of its kind for Eastern Jackson County in less than a week – expected late Monday night and early this morning.
    “(On Monday morning), we were trying to widen the streets out to allow space for plowing new snow,” Independence Public Works Director John Powell said.
    Crews then went to work, in 12-hour shifts, on the city’s first-priority streets, keeping them treated and cleared until the storm is finished. Those first-priority streets are among the most heavily traveled, including Noland, R.D. Mize and Lee’s Summit roads; 35th and 39th streets; and Sterling and Crysler avenues.
    The National Weather Service says 6 to 10 inches of snow is expected in the metro area – but southern parts of the metro area could get 10 to 12 inches. The heaviest snow is snow is expected to be done by noon Tuesday. A big worry is not just large amounts of snow but the winds gusting above 30 mph and making driving harzardous, especially for this morning's commute.
    "Only travel in an emergency," the Weather Service says in its storm warning. That warning is in effect until 3 p.m. Tuesday.
    Independence police are also stressing that idea and say this storm has the potential to be more disruptive than last Thursday's. They remind people not to park on the streets so crews can clear them. Also, shovel snow away from fire hydrants in your neighborhood if you can. Police expect plenty of wrecks. If you're in a wreck, call 816-325-7300. If it's a fender-bender without injuries, exchange names and insurance information and walk the information into the Police Department later.
    Chris Sandie, public works director for Blue Springs, said crews were on standby Monday, waiting for the snow to move in.
    “We readied our trucks for snow removal and are drivers were ready for the snow to fall,” he said. “As soon as it starts falling, we will start pushing.”
    Sandie said crews concluded operations at 4 p.m. Saturday from last week’s storm before resuming 12-hour shifts on Monday. This storm is presenting a whole new set of challenges for Blue Springs crews. Sandie said because there is already snow on the ground, it will be difficult to push snow completely off the roadway. In addition, crews were concerned of not being able to pre-treat the roads like last week. “The main difference between this storm and last week’s event is that there is the chance for more snow, and it will take longer to fall,” Sandie said.
    Similarly, Jackson County crews were treating roads in advance of the storm, and snowplow crews were expected to be back on 12-hour shifts when the heavy snow comes.
    Page 2 of 3 - The Independence Police and Public Works departments ask residents to avoid parking on the street. If unavoidable, vehicles should be parked on the north side of east-west streets or along the west side of north-south streets.
    “If people can avoid parking on the streets, that’s best,” Powell said.
    Sandie said because of the amount of snow predicted, it could take up to 96 hours for all roads to be cleared. Because it takes multiple passes with a snow plow to clear the streets, windrows could build up at the end of residents’ drivew3ays several times. Windrows are small berms or snow banks that are formed as plows push snow to the sides of the street.
    “As much as we hate to see a clean driveway that we have to fill up again, it is pretty much necessary to get the street clear,” he said. “We would like residents to stay at home if at all possible during this storm. Park off the streets, so that when we come through to clean curb to curb, there are no problems.”
    In Independence, the  Missouri Department of Transportation is responsible for about 100 miles of streets, including U.S. 24 and 40, Interstate 70, Missouri 7 and 291 and a portion of Truman Road.
    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.
    Even with last Thursday’s snowstorm that dumped about a foot of snow on Eastern Jackson County, Independence Public Works is still doing OK with its 50-50 mix of sand and salt supplies, Powell said.
    “We started the winter with full supplies,” he said. “There really was very little snow until last week, so we still have plenty for the snow that is forecast.”
    Independence residents who are concerned about snow removal in their neighborhoods should contact the main Public Works office or the Street Maintenance Division, Powell said. Both of those can be accessed through the city’s main telephone number at 816-325-7000.
    He also suggested citizens submit a request on the city’s website (www.indepmo.org) through the Action Center.
    “I don’t think we will be doing anything on the residential streets until the main streets are open. It’s pretty unlikely that will be (Tuesday),” Powell said.
    Changing plans
    Many agencies are encouraging citizens that if they don’t have to get out and travel Tuesday, they shouldn’t.
    The county has extended its state of emergency through Wednesday. County offices are closed Tuesday, and officials say they will watch conditions closely to see if offices can be reopened Wednesday.
    Page 3 of 3 - Jackson County courts are closed Tuesday.
    In Blue Springs, City Hall and Vesper Hall are closed Tuesday. Non-essential personnel do not need to report to work.
    By early Monday afternoon, the Independence Police Department had issued a Public Safety Advisory, asking citizens to limit road travel as much as possible.
    Changes to Independence’s local bus service IndeBus will be posted online at indebusmo.com. The city said IndeAccess and IndeAccess Plus riders are encouraged to limit transportation.
    “IndeBus will be running as long as it is safe to do so,” according to a statement on the IndeBus website, indebusmo.com. “...Every effort will be made to provide transportation, but road conditions may prevent safe travel.”
    Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, which still provides several routes in Independence, told customers to check current information before traveling on Tuesday. On KCATA’s Facebook page Monday afternoon, KCATA stated service might be delayed if road conditions are poor.
    “A suspension of service would be a last report,” KCATA stated, adding that the service had planned to run Metro and MAX service on Tuesday morning.
    A handful of other cancellations affecting the city of Independence began to come in Monday afternoon.
    The City Council study session scheduled for Monday night was canceled. All Independence city offices and facilities are closed to the public on Tuesday. The Palmer Center also will not offer meal services.
    Independence Municipal Court is closed Tuesday, and all court sessions are canceled. Contact Municipal Court on Thursday by calling 816-325-7235 or 816-325-7239 for rescheduled court dates.
    Sugar Creek also canceled its night Municipal Court session for Tuesday, and asks that anyone on the docket call for a new court date.
    Independence Health Department classes for Tuesday also are canceled.
    The Independence Power & Light Department reminds its customers to stay away from down power lines and to call 816-325-7550 to report a power outage. Power outages can be tracked at www.indepmo.org by clicking on the “power outage map” link in the bottom-center of the page.
    Centerpoint Medical Center in Independence early Monday afternoon also activated its emergency plan and took steps to ensure the safety of its patients, employees and volunteers.
    “Please be safe,” Centerpoint stated on its Facebook page, “and we’re here if you need us.”
    (Examiner reporters Adrianne DeWeese, Kelly Evenson and Jeff Fox contributed to this article.)
     

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