Who Clears Your Roads?

Tuesday, December 16th 2008, 4:54 pm
By: News On 6

By Dan Bewley and Scott Thompson, News On 6

UNDATED -- This first round of winter weather has road crews working overtime to clear the ice and snow.

So how do you know what your city clears or what you have to do yourself?

The News On 6 checked with six cities in the Tulsa area to find out what the policies are for clearing neighborhood streets and found one city that doesn't get into subdivisions at all, while another city takes requests.

Ice and slush still cover the streets across Broken Arrow. The slick conditions make for a tough drive, some cars slide to a stop, others spin for traction to get going.

Phil Patterson has seen it all before, he grew up in Chicago.

"Everybody says slow down, but for me this is just another day in paradise," said Patterson.

The only bit that bothers him is that the City of Broken Arrow doesn't clear neighborhood streets.

"Yes, they should. But for the amount of money it costs, in Chicago they'd have this all cleaned up but they don't deal with ice they deal with snow and snow's a lot easier to drive on than the ice," said Patterson.

Broken Arrow has never cleared neighborhood streets, according to the city's communication director. Keith Sterling says the city has 10 sanding trucks and close to 50 employees who work around the clock when conditions get bad.

"We have about 580 miles worth of roads in Broken Arrow and it keeps our crews busy just doing our arterial streets," said Sterling.

But other cities around Green Country help in the subdivisions.

Owasso, Sand Springs and Sapulpa all clear the major feeder streets that lead into the neighborhoods. Sapulpa will even take requests on a first come, first serve basis to clear specific neighborhoods.

Jenks works mostly on the elevated roads or hills in neighborhoods and Claremore says it clears all city streets, including going into the neighborhoods.

So if you find a slick patch close to home, any advice from a former Chicago driver on how to handle it?

"I just go slow and I stay away from everybody else," said Patterson.

All of the cities say their first priority is clearing the major roads or streets that lead to hospitals before going into the neighborhoods.

Broken Arrow is also under a hiring freeze so the city is unable to hire contract or part-time workers to help with the problem.