City of Tulsa Offers Winter Preparedness Facts
TULSA, Okla. – The safety of motorists on Tulsa’s arterial streets is a top priority of the Tulsa Mayor’s Office and of the Public Works Department during winter snow and ice treatment of city streets.
“We have received and stored adequate supplies of salt for a normal winter, and have asked people to be prepared for extreme conditions as well. It’s just wise for all of us to be ready and have contingency plans built into home and business routines during the winter months,” said Mayor Dewey Bartlett.
The City has 9,600 tons of salt on hand for the upcoming winter season, which is more than the 9,153 tons used in last year’s winter – the second snowiest winter on record since 1923, according to the National Weather Service. The City of Tulsa’s average salt usage for the past 10 year period is 7,361 tons. All of the money budgeted for salt this year has been spent, and the salt supply is already on the lot or on order. In addition, the mayor authorized spending funds requested by the City Council after the original budget was approved. The additional funding, $369,000 for salt, sand and overtime, came from a one-time fund balance for fiscal year 2010.
“We are listening to concerns from the Councilors, and we want to reassure citizens that their City will do what is necessary to handle winter storms,” Bartlett said. He noted that if it appears Tulsa will have a much harsher than normal winter, our Public Works managers will make recommendations for funding emergency salt purchases.
“We are still operating in a tenuous economy and we are only just beginning to see revenues improve. We must be conservative in our approach, but we will review our salt supplies and funding if we see a need to increase later in the season. “It would be fiscally irresponsible for us to spend more than necessary since the budget is so tight. We have many top priority needs that must be funded and we strive to maintain a balance between all services.
“Our Street Maintenance managers have for the first time worked a good contingency plan with a major supplier to ship salt to Tulsa by rail. That will speed up delivery even if roads between here and the salt mines are covered with ice and snow. “We will not put our citizens in jeopardy and we will work as hard as we ever have to clear streets and make them safe – but it is premature to make the decision to spend more than we have. We continue to be prudent in our spending of tax dollars,” Bartlett concluded.
The City of Tulsa is responsible for clearing snow and ice from certain segments of the Tulsa expressway system and all arterial (main) streets. Other expressway segments in Tulsa are the responsibility of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. Tulsa County maintains arterials outside of the corporate limits of Tulsa and neighboring cities.
The goal of the program is to make expressways and arterial streets safe and passable as soon as possible after snowfall or ice begins. These resources are available to attain this goal: 9,600 tons of salt 55 truck-mounted sand-salt spreaders. 38 truck-mounted snow plows. 4 motor graders for use as plows. 1 truck-mounted liquid de-icer spraying units. 150 employees.
The spreaders are assigned to 35 specific routes totaling 1,750 lane-miles. Spreading and plowing routes are prioritized based on traffic counts. Daytime operations are controlled by Public Works Facilities Maintenance managers. Nighttime operations are controlled from the Street Maintenance West Yard at 450 W. 23rd Street.
You can get information on winter storm operations 24 hours a day at 596-9711.