City Of Tulsa Changes Snow Plowing, Removal Strategy

Friday, February 4th 2011, 6:03 pm
By: News On 6

Emory Bryan & Lacie Lowry, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- The City of Tulsa continues plowing - and salting streets - but had a long way to go even before Friday's snow fall. The estimate now is at least another full week of plowing to get streets cleared.

There's been some confusion over where the city is working - but they're still plowing only the arterials - like Peoria, Apache and Harvard.

They are working some on collector streets like Delaware and New Haven - but that's not plowing - that's removing snow, which is a much slower process.

With snow already covering the ground, and nowhere to put all that new snow heading our way, the city is changing its strategy.

"This is a record snowfall and it's going to take a record response, in terms of resources and time," Paul Strizek, with City of Tulsa, said.

Some of those resources are being relocated to residential areas. The city is now having water and sewer employees go through neighborhoods with backhoes to move as much snow as possible.

2/2/2011 Related Story: City Of Tulsa To Plow Secondary Streets

That's all the city can offer right now for snowbound side streets.  Regular snow plow and salt spreading operations will continue on the main streets to keep pace with the snow.

"So what we will be doing is plowing the snow, moving it, we'll be putting it aside, putting it up next to the curb, putting it on city property, putting it in one way streets," Mayor Dewey Bartlett said.

This will be much faster than what the city was doing.

"We were loading it into a dump truck and taking it over to the Oktoberfest site, basically. Well, each round trip, when everything was said and done, even though it was only two miles away, it was basically twenty five minutes," Strizek said.

That meant very little progress. The city says the new approach should be a big improvement.

"Also, this weekend, there will be a minimal number of people in the downtown area, certainly in the daytime especially, so that will give us more opportunity to get plows in," Bartlett said.

The new round of snow clashed with a fresh wave of people out on the city streets. A lot of people had trouble getting out to the streets that have been plowed, and the most reliable transportation was either a four-wheel drive - or on foot.

One cab driver was waiting to get cables on her tires for traction. 

"If you don't have cables or four wheel drive, you don't need to be out in this," Carmen said.

On all but the main, arterial streets, two wheel drive vehicles are barely able to make it in the slushy snow especially on a hill. But people who get stuck can usually get a hand. 

"I was bragging about how good it was in the snow," one man said.

While city arterials, like 11th and Utica, have been plowed multiple times - they're also packed with cars, and when one stalls the streets are often blocked. Some smaller streets, like 6th, are in good shape - and they have less traffic.

Most neighborhood streets still have deep, slippery slush - that's hard to get through for many drivers, especially in smaller cars and trucks.

The city still has plenty of salt, and they're going to be using a lot of it as they get the snow plowed down to the icy layer. The biggest help is sunshine, and that's why the north-south streets are better than east west - they just get more sun.

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