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Answering your questions about winter storm operations

Post Date:10/29/2019

How many streets are plowed by the City?

There are approximately 1,286 lane miles of major roadways in Olathe. The City is responsible for plowing more than 1,378 lane miles of streets in total and over 1,300 cul-de-sacs.

How many plow trucks are used during snow removal?

The City of Olathe works to keep 58 snow plows and pick-ups removing snow during both the day shift and night shift. Our crews work 12-hour shifts throughout a winter storm in order to provide 24-hour winter coverage. 

Why do residential areas get plowed last?   

The City’s top priority is major roadways and collector streets in order to ensure emergency vehicles can access all parts of Olathe. Once all of our major roadways have been treated and are deemed passable, crews will begin focusing on residential streets and cul-de-sacs.

Why hasn’t my street been plowed yet?

If it’s still snowing: City crews are working 24/7 to maintain passable streets. They will continue working 12-hour shifts around the clock as long as deemed necessary. Unfortunately, it is not possible to respond to individual locations during a snow event. Major roadways and collector streets receive the first priority for snow removal, followed then by residential streets and cul-de-sacs. Once the snow has stopped accumulating, crews have 48 hours to clear the streets. Please be assured that crews are working their way through routes as quickly as possible, and we sincerely appreciate your patience.

If the snow recently ended: City crews are working 24/7 to maintain passable streets. They will continue working 12-hour shifts around the clock as long as deemed necessary. Unfortunately, it is not possible to respond to individual locations at this time, as the snow just recently ended. Major roadways and collector streets receive the first priority for snow removal, followed then by residential streets and cul-de-sacs. Since the snow has just recently stopped accumulating, please give crews 48 hours to clear the streets. Please be assured that crews are working their way through routes as quickly as possible, and we sincerely appreciate your patience.

Why do residential areas get plowed last?

The City’s top priority is major roadways and collector streets in order to ensure emergency vehicles can access all parts of Olathe. Once all of our major roadways have been treated and are deemed passable, crews will begin focusing on residential streets and cul-de-sacs.

Why is my street always plowed last?

Our drivers are instructed to continually change the sequence for plowing residential streets so that a particular street is not always the last to be plowed, but is not always the first, either. We assure you that we are not intentionally plowing your street last.

Why did I see a large plow come down my street but miss my cul-de-sac?

Our large trucks will plow residential streets and assist with cul-de-sacs by plowing the throat (opening of the cul-de-sac), but not the bulb. The larger trucks cannot plow cul-de-sac safely, so you should expect a smaller truck to come by to finish plowing the cul-de-sac.

Why did the snow plow push a bunch of snow back into my driveway?

This is what is called a snow windrow, and they are often an unavoidable result of the snow removal process. Residents are encouraged to clear this snow from their driveways before the snow refreezes and becomes more difficult to remove. Residents can also alleviate the impact of snow windrows by piling snow on the left side of their driveway (when facing their home) and shoveling an inlet on the right side. Residents should avoid placing snow from their driveway back into the street to minimize the snow that plow trucks push back into their driveway.

Where do you report unplowed streets?

48 hours after the snow stops accumulating, residents can report unplowed streets via OlatheConnect or by calling the snow plow hotline at 913-971-6010. Please keep in mind that the City will not be addressing individual concerns until it is determined by streets supervisors that all streets have been plowed. Major roadways and collector streets receive first priority during snow removal operations, followed by residential streets and cul-de-sacs. City crews work 24/7 to maintain passable streets and continue to do so as long as necessary.

Why wasn’t salt put down on my street?

The pick-up trucks that plow the cul-de-sac bulbs are not equipped with sanders, and the large plow truck assigned to your neighborhood will treat with salt once the bulbs have been cleared. The snow plow operator will not treat the street until he has completed plowing the street in both directions. This prevents salt that had just been spread from being plowed off the street as the driver plows the opposite side of the road. At certain times of the day it is difficult to see the salt when it blends with the snow.

There are cars parked on my street, how will the snow plows get around the cars? 

The City does not have a Municipal Code requiring cars to be removed from streets during a snow storm. Plow drivers will do their best to plow as close to the parked car as possible without causing damage. When there is a storm approaching, consider contacting your neighbors to move all cars to driveways or garages so that the plows can clear the streets as close to the curb as possible.

Where can I check on the progress of snow removal operations? 

The snow plow map is available for residents to check on the progress of snow removal operations during snow events. To view this map, visit OlatheKS.org/SnowPlowMap.

Why hasn’t my sidewalk been shoveled yet?

Property owners are responsible for shoveling the sidewalk adjacent to their property, per Olathe Municipal Code.

What’s the difference in response between an ice storm and a snow storm?

During an ice event the response time increases due to the limited traction caused by the layer of ice on the roadway.  The large trucks, even though they are equipped with tire chains, struggle to gain traction on the ice.  Material use increases during an ice event because the ice cannot be plowed off of the street as it must be melted. Be patient and allow time for the salt to take effect. Salt is not always visible on the ice even though it has been applied.

If tree limbs/branches fall due to snow, who is responsible for removal and how do I dispose of them?

If the limbs/branches are on private property, the homeowner/business owner is responsible for removal and disposal. If the downed limbs/branches fall into the street, the street plows will push them to the side of the street. A bulk pick-up can be scheduled by calling Customer Service during regular business hours at 913-971-9311, regular rates apply. If a discount is offered, the City will alert our residents through Facebook, Twitter, OlatheKS.org, and the Olathe Trash Day mobile app. City staff is unable to go on private property to assist with large limbs or branches. If residents are able, the Olathe Compost Facility at 1100 Hedge Lane is open for disposal of limbs at no cost.

Will trash still be collected today even though my street hasn’t been plowed yet?

Should trash collection be delayed due to snow, we will alert our residents through FacebookTwitter, OlatheKS.org, and the Olathe Trash Day mobile app. To sign up for notifications for delays in collection, download the Olathe Trash Day mobile app in the App Store or Google Play.

What do I do if I lose power from the storm?

The City does not manage power. You will need to contact your power company to report the outage.

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