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The Kansan - Newton, KS
  • After the storm

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  • City and county road crews were getting a bit of rest after two storms slammed Harvey County over the past week.?Having storms back to back presented some challenges, but overall, Newton Public Works Director Suzanne Loomis was happy with how it turned out.?"It was a real group effort," she said. "We called in everyone from public works and parks. It took everyone to get it done," she said.?City crews got the snow route clear just in time to watch a second storm come through. Fortunately temperatures didn't drop too much during the second snow, so there was little freezing on the main streets.?The city does not plow residential streets, partly because of finances, and because it is hard to get the big trucks around cars parked on the street.?At the county level, the job is bigger because of more area to cover and more miles of highway.?County Administrator John Waltner said city crews are still trying to get roads in rural areas cleared. Wind is causing snow to drift and get back on roads after they are scraped.?The hardest thing was having two storms back to back.?"We feel better than we did a couple of days ago," Waltner said. "We didn't completely recover from one when the next one hit. The biggest problem was the amount of snow and the wind," he said.?The county has attached "v-plows" to road graders, which is done only when there is a lot of snow.?"Going by the number of v-plows, I would say this was a significant snow event," he said.?It was one of the deepest snows in recent years.?Both the city and county have a budgeted item that covers this type of thing. If they don't use the money it rolls over into the next year.?They don't know how much it will cost yet, but there will be a significant amount of overtime and some wear and tear on vehicles.?Both had plenty of salt and sand. Waltner said the county has already ordered more so it will have plenty on hand if needed.?The city's work is pretty well done. Loomis said workers put in several 12-hour shifts and people who usually work during the day worked at night, so everyone is home getting some rest.The county is still contending with roads in rural areas.?Waltner said there would be a lot of maintenance to do on gravel roads, which normally have damage during heavy snow.?Loomis said the city crews are fixing up equipment issues, or anything that might have been damaged. They are also checking drainage areas so the snow can get out of the area as it melts.?The first storm dropped about 12 inches around Newton, and some of that melted before the next one hit. The second one dumped 10 inches of snow on the city.
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