WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — With snow in the forecast for a lot of Kansas this weekend, you may wonder what is being done to ensure the roads are as safe as possible.

In Wichita, the roads are not being pretreated. But in Salina, they are.

Wichita Communications Manager Megan Lovely said the Wichita area is expected to get significant rain before any possible snow.

“We cannot pretreat when there is rain preceding snow as it washes away the treatment materials,” she said.

South-central Kansas

Tom Hein, Wichita Metro spokesperson for the Kansas Department of Transportation, agrees but says KDOT crews will be ready to go.

“Wichita crews will be on standby for the weekend, but they are not pretreating now,” Hein said. “It is likely that supervisors will be called in on Saturday to monitor the conditions and highway surfaces. Crews will be brought in if necessary.”

Tim Potter is the public affairs manager for KDOT District Five, which covers 18 counties in south-central Kansas.

“Whether we pretreat will vary based on the forecasts,” he said. “Everywhere, we have crews that are prepared to respond as needed. We’ve got some areas that are expecting significant snow or wintry mix and others not so much.”

  • In Wichita/Sedgwick County, KDOT crews are standing by and will be monitoring the highways but, so far, are not planning to pretreat based on the forecast.
  • In the northwest section of the district, which covers Barton, Rice, Rush and Pawnee counties and part of Stafford County, crews have pretreated with salt brine. That northwestern area is expecting 3 to 6 inches of snow.
  • To the southwest, around Pratt, Edwards, Kingman, Kiowa, Barber and Comanche counties, supervisors are expecting rain, so there will be selective pretreatment there because rainfall would wash pretreatment material away.
  • To the northeast, around Butler, Harvey and Reno counties, crews have pretreated in some locations that are more prone to getting slick, such as bridges and overpasses.
  • For now, in the southeastern area, including Cowley, Sumner and Harper counties, crews are not planning to pretreat unless expectations and conditions change.

North-central Kansas

The City of Salina said its crews will be pretreating bridge decks and other elevated surfaces with rock salt to prevent to help prevent icing Saturday morning.

Brent Buchwald, Salina street superintendent, said staff is also preparing to have salt trucks on standby, ready to deploy as needed.

“The public is asked to allow ample space when approaching salt trucks from behind, as the equipment will be distributing salt to the roadway,” he said. “Driving too closely to equipment could also present additional challenges and safety concerns for operators and other motorists.”

The KDOT District Two public affairs manager, Ashley Perez, said pretreating will depend on the forecast and staffing.

“We will be pretreating as necessary in the areas where enough staff is available to pretreat as well as fight winter weather when it arrives to help keep Kansas moving,” Perez said.

Southwest Kansas

A spokesperson for KDOT District Six, southwest Kansas, says all the District Six crews are on standby.

Northwest Kansas

Lisa Mussman, public affairs manager for KDOT District Three, says KDOT is not pretreating the roads in northwest Kansas.

“There is still some brine left on the roads from the previous storm that will start working again once the snow starts,” she said. “Our prep work today has mostly consisted of checking over and readying equipment and mixing salt/sand and salt brine. All crews are on standby this weekend and will be called in to start clearing and treating as needed in their areas.”

Northeast Kansas

KDOT District One map, northeast Kansas (Courtesy KDOT)

In northeast Kansas, KDOT District One Public Affairs Manager Kate Craft sent a map of her area.

“Areas 1 and 5 are pretreating all roadways,” she said. “Area 4 is pretreating bridges and overpasses today and is monitoring the forecast to determine if additional pretreatment will be done to roadways.”

In Areas 2 and 3, the Kansas City metro, crews are pretreating all roadways, bridges, and overpasses and are on standby to come in Saturday.

Delaney Tholen, public affairs manager for KC-metro, said supervisors are monitoring the weather to determine what action will be necessary when the snow begins, which is predicted to be around 11 a.m. Pavement temperatures are currently in the 40s, so it is expected that falling snow will not build up on metro highways.

KDOT suggests that drivers check KanDrive.org before traveling or call 511. In a message directed at Kansas City Chiefs fans heading to Saturday’s game, KDOT says to slow down and drive for conditions.

Southeast Kansas

KSN News has not heard back yet from the southeast Kansas KDOT spokesperson.