City Of Tulsa Better Prepared For Snow-Slick Streets After Mild Winters


Tuesday, February 12th 2013, 10:02 pm
By: Tess Maune


As snow started to fall in Tulsa, road crews were out Tuesday night, monitoring the streets for slick spots.

They have a lot of road to cover and it's been quite some time since they've had to hit the streets hard.

An arsenal of snow plows and salt spreaders were waiting and ready Tuesday afternoon.

"Once we see the temperatures drop and the surface of the ground drop and we reach that freezing point, then we'll start treating those slick spots as needed," said Street Maintenance Operation Manager Leon Kragel.

With the exception of a few hours of light salting, the Tulsa street department's winter weather fleet has been sitting still for two years now.

The last major snow storm hit the metro area in February 2011, bringing more snow in a 24-hour period than the city had ever seen.

2/1/2012 Related Story: Looking Back At Northeast Oklahoma's Blizzard Of 2011

"It was a lot of hours of work," Kragel said.

He said the break from snow and ice has been a blessing.

"The equipment that took a real hard hit a few years ago, we were able to get those repairs done and actually recoup and actually build up our program even stronger," Kragel said.

The street department added to its fleet after the historic 2011 snow storm, seven new snow plows, seven new salt spreaders and a new smaller plow. It's also been stock-piling the salt supply.

As of Tuesday, the city had 14,000 tons of salt. To use it all up, road crews said it would take two weeks of 24-hour shifts in the snow and ice.

11/5/2012 Related Story: City Of Tulsa Street Department Prepared For The Worst This Winter

Each year, the city gives streets and maintenance about $100,000 for salt.

That number can grow, depending on the severity of the season.

For the milder winters, when there's no need for salt, Kragel said that money would go back into the city's general fund. But it likely won't. The city says you get the best prices on winter weather gear in the spring and summer, when demand is down. And it's better to have too much than not enough.

The city said road crews would start checking bridges and overpasses, as well as some of the streets with steep inclines first, treating any dangerous areas, as needed.